During our two-day shop and cook fest preparing the dishes for the Neapolitan Christmas Eve dinner, Cena della Vigilia di Natale, the last dish we made was the first one that is served, the primo piatto, Spaghetti alle Vongole. It was also the dish that Giuseppe, his brother Massimo and I decided to sit down together and eat.
Though I occasionally make Spaghetti alle Vongole at home and I shared my recipe for it last year at Christmas, I prefer to eat it out. It’s not that it’s terribly difficult to make, it’s just that mine always seems to fall a bit short. At least that was the case until I tasted Giuseppe’s. Now mine really falls short. Whether it’s that I have no Neapolitan cooking blood running through my veins or Giuseppe snuck in some secret ingredient or process in when I wasn’t looking. Or maybe it was just that he got Massimo to cut up the tomatoes, but his Spaghetti alle Vongole rocks. In fact, it is probably the best I’ve ever tasted.
So here is Giuseppe’s recipe for Spaghetti alle Vongole. Similar to the recipe I posted last year except he used more tomatoes. And now that I think about it, he cooked the clams in the sauce where as I was taught to do them separately and then add them later. Seems to me that might have made the difference, but of course he still might have snuck something in when I wasn’t looking.
500 grams clams, live clams are the best
600 grams cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
Parsley to garnish
Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta
Halve the tomatoes
Peel 2 cloves of garlic
Heat a generous amount of oil in a frying pan over medium heat
Add the garlic
Add the tomatoes and salt and cook until the tomatoes ares soft, about 7 minutes
Add the clams and turn the heat to high
While the clams are cooking, cook the pasta al dente
Add a bit of the pasta water into the sauce and cook until all the clams open
Remove the garlic
Drain the pasta, add it to the sauce and stir through
Garnish with fresh parsley
Watching the clams open as they are cooking!
More about Christmas in Naples
A native Neapolitan, Giuseppe Topo is a hairstylist and one of the owners of Noi, Naples only English-speaking salon. A passionate cook, when he’s not styling hair Giuseppe can be found in the kitchen cooking up one of his favorite Neapolitan dishes.
Find all of his great recipes at Cooking with Giuseppe!