Sunday, July 21, 2013

Spaghetti alla Vongole

God bless Costco. Every week, after picking up our produce, we head to the super store and flash our membership card at the front  door greeter, confident that we don't need much, maybe some toilet paper or a couple of bottles of wine, and we walk out with $400 worth of goods in our cart. Not a bad hustle if you think of the millions of Americans who walk in with the same laissez-faire attitude but can't pass up the incredible deals that they find once they are inside, whether they need the box of sponges or the flat screen TV or the giant bag of peppers or not. 

This week, we spotted some clams that completely changed our dinner plans. It didn't matter that we are a small family of four and that the bag of clams was three pounds. The clams were wild and beautiful and plenty and only $15. We had to have them. 

This entry is about what we did with those New Zealand cockles when we got home: 

Clams need to be soaked in ice water, first thing. They relax and release sand and impurities in to the water that you do not want to flavor your meal. I usually let them sit in the fridge for at least thirty minutes. 

Then I strain them and scrub each one individually, tossing any that seem suspicious, chipped or that do not completely close. 

Time to cook. As with all pasta recipes, start with boiling water for your spaghetti. Then, slice 3 cloves of garlic and put them in a deep skillet with 3 tbsps of olive oil, over medium-high heat, until they are browned. 

Gently stir in the clams. Salt and pepper, to taste. 

These little guys cook quickly so move fast. After seasoning and stirring for two minutes, pour in 1/4 cup of white wine. 

Sprinkle in a generous amount of chopped parsley. 

Integrate, remove the clams from the skillet and cover to keep them warm. 

You should be left with a beautiful broth in the pan. This will be the sauce for your spaghetti. 

Once your pasta is al dente, strain and drop in the spaghetti. Stir it in to the sauce until it is fully coated, then plate. 

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