Recipe: Spaghetti alle vongole, with garum and bottarga

Few dishes offer more reward for less effort than spaghetti alle vongole. A glug of olive oil and a splash of white wine, plus a little garlic and chilli, get tossed together with the briny juices from the clams and the starchy pasta cooking water to create a slick, glossy and (most importantly) flavourful sauce that clings to both the pasta and your heart.

For an extra oceanic kick, we add a splash of our Australian-made garum, an Italian-inspired fermented condiment made from fish (also known as ‘colatura di alici’), that’s been used to add flavour and seasoning to food since Ancient Roman times. The dish is finished off with a sprinkling of parsley, a grind of black pepper and a grating of Pilu’s locally-made bottarga: cured mullet roe that adds richness, vibrancy and a beautiful hit of colour.

We recommend using a quality pasta for a dish as simple like this. I Due Pastori pasta is dried without having been cooked first (unlike most supermarket pastas), making it easy to perfect that al dente texture.

Ingredients

Serves 4
1.5kg live vongole clams, cleaned
500g dried spaghetti View
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil View
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1/4 cup verjuice View
2 tsp garum View
Bottarga (to serve) View
Finely chopped parsley (to serve)
Freshly ground black pepper (to serve) View
Lemon wedges or halves (to serve)

Add salt to a large pot of boiling water (it should taste like the sea), then add the pasta and cook until almost al dente.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan or pot over a medium heat, and gently cook the garlic and chilli. Add the verjuice and bring to a simmer, then add the cleaned clams, stir, and cover with a lid. Cook for 6 minutes (or until all clams have opened), stirring once or twice, then reduce heat and add the garum.

Transfer pasta to the clam pot, including 3 tablespoons of the pasta cooking liquid, and add the parsley. Stir until well combined, and until pasta becomes al dente. Adjust the seasoning if needed (add more garum if the sauce requires salt, or extra verjuice if it requires acidity).

Serve on a large platter or in individual bowls, and top with freshly ground black pepper and grated bottarga. Serve with fresh lemon and bread.

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