Spaghetti with clams & tomato sauce

Spaghetti with clams & tomato sauce by “nonna Lella”

My mother, better known in these pages as “Granny Lella” (nonna Lella), called me yesterday at work, around noon, to ask me would I mind if she prepared some extra clams & tomato sauce for me and my family for lunch. Would I mind???

Well, I usually get back home from work around 2.15 pm – starving to death – and thank goodness (I had better say, thank you Walter!) I always find delicacies on the table: maybe a cauliflower un-quiche or a home-made pizza (a privilege most Italian women do not experience – by the way, Italian men out there, get a move on helping women at home and try to catch up on the huge gap between you guys and men in the rest of the so-called civilized world! Valentine’s Day is today: instead of taking your girl out to an anonymous restaurant – or to an expensive restaurant, for that matter, to clear up your guilty conscience!  – why don’t you cook a romantic dinner for you and your beloved one, provided she doesn’t end up washing the dishes afterwards?).

So – going back to the sauce  – when my mother called me to offer us a sauce for our (almost) daily pasta, I could not but say YES.

Here is the recipe (I hope Walter, our food expert at WLB will not mind if I intrude and post a recipe): however, it is not my cup of tea.

Spaghetti with clams & tomato sauce

Yummy detail of clams and tomato sauce

Ingredients for 4 people

  • Clams (they must be fresh – as we live on the Adriatic coast it is easy for us to buy fresh fish – if you are not sure wether clams are fresh or not, then I would suggest to buy the frozen ones):   1 kg;
  • Spaghetti: 500 gr;
  • Garlic: 1 clove or 2;
  • Pepper;
  • Salt;
  • Olive oil;
  • Parsley

The recipe is really easy, as you’ll see. The secret for a good clams and tomato sauce lies in the way you prepare clams (and let the sand go away while preserving the smell – and flavor – of the sea).

So, let’s get started:

Put the clams in a pan, cover them with water (Granny Lella’s recipe says “two fingers” high) and have the clams cook for about 10 minutes (“fuoco lento”, we say, “slow fire”). After some 10 minutes you’ll see that clams are open (at least most of them – the ones still closed are the bad – dead – ones and must be thrown away).

Then, take clams out of their shells, place them in a bowl and slowly pour their cooking water over them. After 5 minutes you’ll see the sand resting on the bottom of the bowl. Take the clams out of the bowl using a skimmer, put them in a different, clean, bowl and gently pour their water over them paying attention not to pour the sand also. Do this another couple of times.

Now, clams are ready to be placed in a pan whose bottom has been sparkled with olive oil and where 1 or 2 peeled garlic cloves have been prepared. Pour, for the last time!, their own water upon them, and warm them up. Then, place the tomato sauce over all (freshly made using “perini” pomodori previously boiled, peeled and cut into little pieces  or – easier  and faster – simply using the canned one). Add salt and a little pepper. Cook for other 10-15 minutes.

Then cook the spaghetti in salted water. When spaghetti are ready, drain them and pour them in a large bowl. Add the clams & tomato sauce over them, mix with delicacy and add (better if freshly picked) parsley (dried parsley will do also).

Eat and smile.


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