Serious Eats: Recipes
Dinner Tonight: Pasta alla Vongole
Despite the so-so reputation that Pasta all a Vongole might hold—an Italian standby of tough, overcooked clams and gray "dishwater" sauce turned cloudy from the simmering clam shells—when done right, it has the potential to be remarkable. Many pasta dishes are this way, requiring attention to detail that's rewarded with great flavor.
In this case, that's an astonishing amount of garlic, the spike of red chile flakes, a briny sauce made of wine and the natural clam juices, and clams whisked out of the pan the moment they open for maximum tenderness.
The recipe comes from the Brooklyn restaurant Al di La, and can be found in the New Brooklyn Cookbook, and has two unique ingredients: shallots and oregano. Thankfully, it works, and this is one recipe that translates; it's delicious. My only advice is to watch salt levels very carefully; the clams bring plenty of their own.