Friday, February 29, 2008

Presto Pasta Night #52

Get ready with the streamers and toot those horns - Presto Pasta Night turns 1! This makes the fifty-second time pasta lovers have banded together to celebrate that most humble ingredient and every week Ruth has lovingly collated the posts to form a mouth-watering display.

This week I'll be using this - Spaghetti alla Chitarra


it is a square cut spaghetti and it's made on a special device called the Chitarra. As these are an egg noodle and will cook in less than 5 minutes I'll be teaming them with another quick cooking ingredient - vongole


Vongole is the name given to a small clam, though these are much larger than the vongole I've seen in Italy.

Naturally enough, there's only one dish I could make - Spaghetti alle Vongole!

spaghetti alle vongole

Spaghetti alle Vongole
[Serves 2]

spaghetti alla chitarra
500 grams Vongole, cleaned
1 red onion, sliced finely
3 garlic cloves, sliced finely
1 long red chilli, sliced finely
4 tomatoes, roughly diced
fresh parsley, chopped

Make the sauce:

Heat some olive oil and a knob of butter in a large pan (it needs to be big enough to hold the vongole and the pasta when it is cooked) and when the butter has melted add the onion, garlic and chilli - cook slowly over a very low heat as you don't want the colour the ingredients, you just want their flavours to infuse into the oil/butter mix.

When the mixture has softened add the diced tomatoes - continue to cook over a low heat until the tomatoes break down.

You can make the sauce up to this stage in advance.

Assemble the dish:

You need to time the dish so that the vongole will have opened up by the time the pasta has cooked. The vongole are only going to take a minute or so to open - actual time will depend on their size.

Turn up the heat on the sauce so that it is simmering and then add the vongole - toss them through the mixture and place a lid on the pan. The lid will help trap the steam and this aids in their opening. Keep jiggling the pot to allow for an even distribution of heat.

When you see that the clams have opened, add the cooked, drained pasta and a handful of parsley and mix it through.

Serve immediately with an extra sprinkling of parsley and a grinding of black pepper.

spaghetti alle vongole



  1. Drool, drool....I love it. Your photos, as usual are gorgeous and you've shared one of my fave dishes. Thanks for playing Presto Pasta Nights and coming to the birthday bash.

  2. Thanks Ruth and a big cheer for PPN and to another year of great Pasta!

  3. Just a quick question - are cockles a type of small clam?


  4. Hi Chris - cockles and clams are related.


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