“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Giant Return of Name This Food!

Well folks, I'm sorry it's been so long but I've been a bit busy recently what with one thing and another (excuses, excuses) and since no-one seemed to put up any hootin' and hollerin', I just kinda forgot. But it's back! Back back back!

Last time, if you can remember that far back, I asked what the name of this dish was:

Well, ponder no more, friends. It is of course

Spaghetti Vongole!

Do what? you say. Spaghetti who?

Spaghetti Vongole is a classic Italian dish, involving clams. Yes, clams.

Clams were, and still are, available in Venice in huge quantities, thus, they were considered a kind of 'peasant' food. Recipes for the dish vary from region to region and even from restaurant to restaurant. Some will add chillies to the dish and some will omit the tomatoes. The clams used vary too and can be quite expensive. Always try to use smaller ones that cook quickly and stay tender. Here's a recipe from the lovely Nigella Lawson.


500g/1lb very small fresh clams, or a small jar of clams in brine
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp anchovy paste
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
400g/14oz canned chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
450g/1lb dried spaghetti

Preparation method

Scrub the clams, discarding any that stay open when tapped sharply.
Place the clams into a pan over a high heat. Add two tablespoons of water, cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until all the shells have opened. Discard any clams which have not opened after five minutes.
Remove the clam flesh from the shells and dip them quickly into their cooking water to rinse off any sand. Strain the clam juices from the pan through a sieve lined with muslin or kitchen paper and save the liquid.
Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and fry until the garlic begins to colour, then add the anchovy paste and parsley and stir-fry for about 30 seconds.
Add the chopped tomatoes and the strained clam juices (if you are using a jar of clams, use the brine from the jar). Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions and drain.
When ready to serve, add the clam flesh to the tomato sauce and stir well.
Mix the sauce into the cooked spaghetti.
To serve, spoon the sauce and spaghetti into bowls.

Sounds like a plan, Nigella!

Anyway, on to the next one... Name This Food!

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