I’m pretty sure there is a more sophisticated name for this dish other than the descriptive and provincial sounding “clams spaghetti with white wine”. Whatever the proper name is, I have no idea. A cousin’s husband prepared something similar to this during a weekend party in Tagaytay some time ago and I’ve been meaning to make the dish myself. When I saw an episode of Nigella Lawson’s TV show a couple of weeks ago where she made the same dish, I was reminded of that Tagaytay weekend and I promised myself I would finally do this simple pasta dish. My problem was my younger daughter. Although she loves clam broth, she doesn’t touch the clam meat. She thinks it’s yucky.
The problem ended at lunch today. She watched me cook and when I handed her her plate of pasta, she started touching the clams. She asked what they tasted like and I told her they tasted very good but I couldn’t properly describe the flavor and it was best she just tried them herself. She did and voila! We have another certified clam eater in the house. You know, with kids, most times it’s not what the food is but how the food is served. I don’t know of any kid who says no to spaghetti. Good thing my kids have been introduced to a wide variety of pasta dishes at an early age so that they’re not averse to trying more new ones.
Clams spaghetti with white wine
- Wash the clams, place in a bowl and cover with water. Cover the bowl and let sit in the fridge for several hours to allow the clams to expel sand. Change the water every few hours. Give the clams another good washing then drain.
- Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, undercooking them by about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil and butter together in a large cooking pan. Add the minced garlic and chopped shallots and cook gently until fragrant. Add the clams and basil. Pour in the white wine and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. When the clam shells open, lower the heat and allow to simmer for a few minutes to slightly reduce the liquid. It is at this stage when the flavors just blend together. The wine gives the sauce a light body that is just indescribably wonderful. So don't skip the simmering bit--it's really crucial.
- Add the spaghetti and toss. Simmer for another few minutes to allow the pasta to finish cooking in the mixture of clam juices and white wine.
- Serve with lots of grated parmesan cheese and buttered bread.