Well, that’s some title! Don’t be alarmed by the lengthy description though, this lip-smackingly luscious bowl of perfectly al dente linguine will be yours in no time at all. Your sauce with be ready by the time the water has come to the boil, your cue to drop the pasta in, cook it for 2-3 minutes, then transfer it straight to the pan containing that glorious clam and white wine nectar, to finish cooking in the style of a risotto. For those of you familiar with my recipes, this is hardly news fresh from the press. I have unveiled with you the joys of cooking pasta risotto style a few times already. But for those of you randomly stumbling upon Silvia’s Cucina, allow me to let you in on one of my favourite kitchen secret… forget about boiling, draining and then dressing the pasta with your sauce! When you do it “risotto-style”, the spaghetti cooks in your rich and velvety clam liquor, slowly absorbing all the flavors, while the starch released by the gentle and constant stirring motion creates a luscious sauce. Genius!
INGREDIENTS, serves 4
350 gr (3/4 packet) of Linguine
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 chopped chilie (or half, according to what heat intensity you can handle)
parsley (leaves and the tender bits of the stalks, chopped), about 1/3 cup
1 kg (2 lb) of Vongole
extra-virgin olive oil, about 4 tablespoons
dry white wine, about 1/3 cup
2-3 zucchini, cut into thin rounds
1. Fill a large pot of salted water and bring to a fierce boil.
2. Put a large frying pan on the stove with a little extra-virgin olive oil. Heat it up and drop in zucchini, chilly and parsley stalks and pan-fry for about 1-2 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a further minute, making sure it doesn’t turn brown. Add a good splash of white wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly, keeping in mind that vongole will add their sapid kick to the dish.
3. Drop your clams in, cover with a lid. They will take about 2 to 3 minutes to open up and release their beautiful juices. Once opened, lift them out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve all the pan juices in the pan for later.
4. When the water is boiling, drop the pasta in and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the noodles have softened. Using kitchen tongs, lift the linguine straight into the wine and vongole juices pan. Cover with enough pasta cooking water so that all the pasta is submerged with liquid. Stirring gently, continue cooking until the pasta is al dente and the liquid has been absorbed and you are left with thick, rich sauce. This will take 5-6 minutes, according to the size of noodles you use.
5. Turn the heat off, add the vongole along with the juices they have released whilst resting, top with chopped parley leaves and serve piping hot!
Silvia’s Cucina the cookbook is available in stores and online