I ventured out of the house for the first time in 4 days to work my legs a little. I know the government has said we can go out for exercise once a day, but around where I live in London, it’s very difficult to avoid people, even if they are in smaller numbers so I have just been staying home to stay safe. However, I finally needed some air, so for this walk, I decided to head towards Angel taking the back streets in the hope of crossing paths with fewer humans. It wasn’t a long walk nor was it very challenging, but it meant I could get down to the fishmongers and get us some fresh fish for lunch and dinner. I settled on fresh vongole and fresh king prawns and knew exactly how I was going to use the vongole.
Normally made with spaghetti, I threw together a quick linguine alle vongole for lunch. It’s a super speedy dish, everything more or less happens in the time it takes for the pasta to cook and other than the vongole themselves, the rest of the ingredients are extremely basic. In fact, on this particular occasion, I was out of white wine (sacrilege I know!) And wasn’t aware until I had already come home. But, that didn’t matter, the dish was delicious regardless, so you too can choose whether to include to wine or not.
Also, if you’re unable to get hold of fresh vongole (I also appreciate they can be a bit pricey), then you can also try and find jarred vongole – they’re out of the shells and in a brine and are a lot cheaper. They work pretty much the same too! I normally find these in Italy, but Italian Deli’s or big supermarkets should have some! The fresh vongole will also release water as they’re cooking, which will turn into a delicious silky sauce once you add your pasta. Just remember to discard any vongole that haven’t opened after they have been cooked, you don’t want to get a funny tummy!
So if you’re looking to switch up your dinners, this is a perfectly light and delicious pasta dish which will go down a treat with the whole family!
Prep time: 5 minutes + 2-3 hours salt bath Cook time: 15 minutes Total time: 20 minutes + 2-3 hours salt bath
Ingredients 1kg Fresh vongole 400g Linguine (or Spaghetti!) 3 Garlic cloves, chopped 1 Tsp Dried chilli flakes 12 Cherry tomatoes, halved 1/4 Cup White wine, optional Handful fresh parsley, rinsed & roughly chopped 3 Tbsp Olive oil 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil Salt Pepper
Place your fresh vongole in a large bowl, cover with cold water and salt heavily 2-3 hours prior to cooking. This will allow the vongole to spit out any sand and grit they’re storing. I change the water half way through and give them an extra rinse at the end.
Boil water in a large saucepan, salt heavily once boiling and add the linguine – cook for 8 minutes.
In a large saucepan, on a medium heat add olive oil. Add garlic and chilli flakes and sauté for a couple minutes before adding the cherry tomatoes.
Increase the heat to high, add the vongole and the white wine if using and cover the pan with a lid. The vongole should start to open after a couple minutes but leave them for around 5 minutes to full open. Give them a stir half way through and add half the fresh parsley.
Add the pasta directly to the frying pan with the vongole and combine, this will allow the pasta to finish cooking in the vongole sauce for another 2 minutes. Discard any vongole that haven’t opened. Season with pepper, add the rest of the fresh parsley and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil just before serving.