Spaghetti alle vongole is a popular dish throughout Italy with many variations – this is our favourite. The cherry tomatoes work well, but leave them out if you prefer.
1kg/2lb 4oz clams
400g/14oz spaghetti or linguine
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
3 garlic cloves
2 red chillies, finely chopped
140g/5oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half
100ml/31/2fl oz dry white wine
large bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
crusty bread, to serve
Put a large pan of cold salted water on to boil. Sort through the clams and get rid of those with broken shells. Tap any clams that are open on the work surface – if they don’t close, throw them away. Wash the remaining clams in 2 changes of cold water.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water following pack instructions. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic, chilli and tomatoes for 3-4 mins. Add the clams, pour in the wine and quickly put on the lid. Cook for 3-4 mins, shaking the pan occasionally until all or most of the clams have opened. Discard any that don’t open.
Drain the spaghetti and mix with the clams and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with crusty bread to soak up the juices.