SPAGHETTI ALLE VONGOLE VERACI E POMODORINI – SPAGHETTI WITH CLAMS AND CHERRY TOMATOES
Recipe n. 26
Growing up on an island in the mediterannean I ate quite a lot of fish as you can probably imagine. It’s a totally different experience to buy some fish in Sicily compared to New York City. In the little town where I come from, which is by the sea, una piccola borgata di mare, there are lots of local ‘pescivendoli’. You can smell the fresh fish from a distance and while I know quite a lot of people are bothered by this smell but it gives me a strong sense of connectedness with the sea. In Sicily they would never sell you a ‘fillet’. You have to buy the whole fish, from head to tail, maybe they will clean it a bit for you but that’s about it. I have also noticed that there is a big difference in terms of flavor. The fish from the Atlantic has a milder flavor while the fish from the mediterranean has a much stronger sea flavor and it’s saltier. Despite these differences, here in New York I feel very lucky to live close by one of the best fish places in town (even if it’s not by the sea) which happens to be in Chelsea Market. This recipe will be ideal if you want to cook a tasty and easy meal for dinner for your guests, it makes a perfect ‘spaghettata’.
- 450g (1 pound) spaghetti or linguine
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- Good pinch of dried hot chilli flakes
- Small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1kg ( a bit over 2 pounds) of small clams, scrubbed and degritted
- 10 cherry tomatoes ( pomodorini pachino)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil and gently sauté the garlic, chilli and half the parsley for a couple of minutes. Add the clams and wine, turn up the heat, then cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the clams have opened.
Remove the clams and the juice and set aside. In the same pan add about 4 spoons of olive oil, the chopped garlic and hot chilli pepper flakes. After the garlic turns gold, add the cherry tomatoes. Let them cook for a few minutes and then crush them with a fork. Add the clams, the rest of the parsley and slowly add the juice which you previously cooked with the clams. Let the juice evaporate for a few minutes and then add a sprinkle of wine and keep the heat high. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in all the spaghetti with the clams and the juices and the remaining parsley.