Vangole e Spaghetti -- Spaghetti and Clams




2 cans (1-3/4 lb. each) Italian plum tomatoes, with juice
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lg. onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, coarsely minced
2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste
1-1/3 cup red wine
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
4 lbs. fresh clams
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked al dente
Salt and pepper, to taste


Scrub the clams with a stiff brush and rinse well under cold running water. Place clams in a Dutch oven with 1 cup red wine over medium high heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or so or until the clams open. Discard any clams that did not open. Remove the clams from their shells and chop coarsely, reserve some clams in shell to serve with the spaghetti. Keep clam broth in reserve.

Coarsely chop the plum tomatoes, set aside in a bowl. In a stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; saute for a few minutes until limp and translucent, not brown. Add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly so that the paste does not burn. (It will burn quickly.) Add red wine, tomatoes, salt, pepper and the reserved broth. Add oregano, parsley and basil. Bring to a rapid boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 1/2 hour to allow the flavors to mingle and the tomatoes to cook.

Adjust the thickness of the sauce by adding water if it is too thick. Add the chopped cook clams. Serve the reserved clams atop bowls of spaghetti with plenty of sauce and crusty Italian bread to “sop up” the tasty sauce. Please, no cheese on this seafood dish. Spoils the taste of the clams.

Author's Comments

There are two schools of “taste” when it comes to Clams and Spaghetti. The red sauce group . . . and the white sauce group. Neither group will give an inch . . . they enjoy their clams with the sauce of their choice and no other sauce will do. That is why you only find the Red Sauce Recipe in this cookbook. I am one of those who insists on Clams in Red Sauce . . . save the white sauce for other things.

From my cookbook, The "Old Country" Italian Cookbook, by Donald J.P. La Marca

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