Vermicelli with Spicy Clam Sauce Recipe

Vermicelli with spicy clam sauce

There’s a subtle chili flavor in this Italian dish. the trick is to use enough to make it lively, as here, but not so much that you can’t taste the clams.

SERVES 4

1kg/2 1/4lb fresh clams, well scrubbed
250ml/8fl oz/1 cup dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, bruised
1 large handful fresh flat leaf parsley
30mI/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
8 ripe Italian plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/2-1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped
350g/12oz dried vermicelli
salt and ground black pepper

1. Discard any clams that are open or that do not close when sharply tapped against the work surface.

2. Put the wine, garlic and half the parsley into a pan, then the clams. Cover and bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes, shaking the pan.

3. Tip the clams into a large colander set over a bowl and let the liquid drain through. Leave the clams until cool enough to handle, then remove about two-thirds of them from their shells, tipping the clam liquor into the bowl of cooking liquid. Discard any clams that have failed to open. Set both shelled and unshelled clams aside, keeping the unshelled clams warm in a bowl covered with a lid.

4. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and stir over the heat for about
5 minutes until softened and lightly colored. Add the tomatoes, then strain in the clam cooking liquid. Stir in the chili and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Bring to the boil, half-cover the pan and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Chop the remaining parsley finely.

6. Add the shelled clams to the tomato sauce, stir well and heat through very gently for 2-3 minutes.

7. Drain the cooked pasta well and tip it into a warmed bowl. Taste the sauce for seasoning, then pour the sauce over the pasta and toss everything together well. Garnish with the reserved unshelled clams, arranging them attractively on top of the pasta. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the pasta and serve immediately.

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