Clams are nice to have as you can make two dishes at once: spaghetti or linguini alle vongole and clear clam broth, light yet filling. As the shells gradually open up, the water turns milkier and transforms into a slightly sweet taste with a bit of brine. If you don't want to have soup at the moment, you can steam the clams in order to extract natural juice that can be bottled and chilled, to be used in future to flavour pasta sauce, a seafood dish or as a soup base.
I like having both pasta and soup together, and it's a dependable go-to dish when I want something a little fancy, but quick to prepare. There's no need for marination or extra dressing with the clams, and stirring is minimal in either dish.
Cooking time: 20 minutes
500 grams linguini or spaghetti (1 pack)
500 grams clams (1 bag)
4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 white onion, finely chopped
1/2 lemon, sliced, and zest
2 tablespoons olive oil, or more if you want
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 heads of parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat 1 litre of salted water in saucepan. Once it reaches boiling point, add clams in the saucepan. Reduce heat once clams start to open. Allow it to keep cooking at low heat for 10 minutes.
2. Add half of the chopped onions, grated lemon peel (use a microplane or potato peeler for this), vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir occasionally. Turn off heat after another 10 minutes. This is your clam broth.
The clam broth should start looking milky like this.
3. Meanwhile, cook linguine for 7-8 minutes (or more, according to the package instructions) until al dente in a large pot at high heat.
4. In a frying pan or nonstick skillet, let butter melt in low heat. Once oil bubbles, stir in the other half cup of onions. Saute for 4-5 minutes.
4. Add minced garlic and olive oil, stir for 2-3 minutes. Add clams from the saucepan. Sprinkle parsley bits and pepper, stir for 30 seconds. Turn off heat.
4. Depending on the size of your cookware, you can either put the pasta into the skillet and coat it with the sauce, or, pour the sauce into the pot of pasta (drained, but keep a few spoonfuls of pasta water if you want). Squeeze in lemon juice and grate lemon zest. Pour a few scoops of clam broth to thicken and coat pasta, as well as enhance flavour. Add more clams from the broth to the pasta mix. Transfer to serving bowls. You can also drink the clam broth.