We’re celebrating our Class of the Month, Cooking 101, with this recipe for Spaghetti alle vongole, Hipcooks style!
Cooking 101 is about basic cooking techniques, fundamentals like knife skills, searing fish, working with pastry — but it is also about quick and easy meals to feed 1 or 2 people. That’s where this recipe comes in!
I don’t often cook if it’s just me (shame, shame!) opting for a bowl of cereal or something equally awful. If I’m lucky, I’ll pop a few tomatoes in a bowl with some basil, salt, and olive oil. But every so often I’ll want to treat myself, still (sticking to something I can make quickly) with a dish that’s out of the ordinary: enter Spaghetti alle vongole.
I don’t eat pasta very often, so when I do I load up on health: opting for Dracula-dreading heaps of garlic, chilies (to get my blood pumping), lemon (Vitamin C!) and tons of dark leafy greens (hello, parsley!) I go high on the flavor with lots of punch —it’s a great meal when I’m feeling sassy (always). If it’s just me, I usually don’t want to break the bank, so clams are a perfect choice. I just need half a pound, a whole pound if I want to splurge a whole 5 bucks at whole foods.
Black pasta from Trader Joe’s is made with squid ink, so that it is delightfully black (Halloween, anyone?) with just a hint of seafood flavor, perfect for this dish. Any type of pasta works, but me, I like impact! Since I eat with my eyes first (nose is the close second), I love the color contrast from the black pasta, white clams, and green parsley.
Best eaten with the skillet as the serving plate (a nod to the Daily Catch Restaurant in the North End of Boston, who always served the pasta in the pan it was cooked in, on checkered tablecloths with carafes of wine. I loved that!)
For more Inspiration, quick and healthy dinners to please everyone, made in mere minutes: see you at Cooking 101!
We’re offering this great class in September at all Hipcooks studios, here are quick links to the schedule:
East Los Angeles
West Los Angeles
Luscious carrot & ginger soup
Hipcooks favorite pasta, with parsley, chilies, lemon & parmesan
Pan-seared seasonal fish with black lentils & salsa verde
Free-form pear galette with fresh thyme & white wine glaze
To taste: Pinot Grigio
spaghetti — my favorite is black or squid ink spaghetti (see notes for a portion guide)
a healthy pat of butter (at least 2 tablespoons)
4-8 cloves garlic, sliced (depending on your later plans)
a sprinkling of chili flakes
2 glasses white wine (some for the dish, the rest for you!)
juice of a lemon
7-8 clams (about half a pound)
a generous handful of parsley leaves, chopped
First, cook the Spaghetti in salted water until just al dente, Drain and return to its pot, sprinkle with a bit of olive oil (so the pasta doesn't stick together). Pop the lid on and shake to distribute the oil (an Aldo* technique.)
Grab your favorite skillet, and melt the butter (if you are comfy working quickly, use high heat for the whole processes. Otherwise, turn it down to medium and go slow.) In short order, add the garlic and chilies. Swirl then in the pan as they impart thier flavor. Add the lemon & some of the white wine (about half a glass), and let the liquid boil. Add the clams and cover (any old lid will do, really).
Once the clams have opened (things should start smelling heavenly by now), toss in the pasta, parsely, and a little salt to finish.
Eat immediatley, while cheersing yourself.
The way I measure pasta is by removing some from the packet and judging the circumference of the circle. Connecting my thumb with the first digit of my index finger gives a circle of about half an inch in diameter, and that's the right amount of pasta for one person. Connecting my thumb with the tip of my index finger gives the right amount of pasta for two people. * Aldo is my dad, and a perfect pasta maker.