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Pasta Con Le Vongole

How to Cook: Pasta Con Le Vongole

The clams are the stars of this dish, but it’s crucial that sauce is smooth. If you only have tinned tomatoes, puree them with a hand blender or press them through a sieve before using. Delicious as this is, it’s not an elegant meal to eat, so be prepared: tie your napkin firmly round your neck and use your fingers to pick the clams from their shells.


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

a spring of the fresh rosemary

500 ml tomato passata

1/2 teaspoon sugar

300 g dried pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine

1 kg fresh baby clams or cockles in shells

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes. Add the passata and sugar, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, then remove and discard the sprig of rosemary.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add a pinch of salt, then add the pasta and cook until al dente, or according to the packet instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, put the clams and 2 tablespoons water into another large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally until all the shells have opened, and discarding any that remain closed.

Strain the the clam cooking juices through a sieve into the tomato pan, to remove grit. When the clams are cool enough to handle, shell half of them and discard the empty shells. Add the shelled and unshelled to the tomato sauce and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Drain the pasta and it to the warm pan. Add the clams and parsley and toss to mix. Divide between 4 bowls and serve.

makes 4 servings

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