A slight twist on this Italian classic seafood pasta dish, cherry tomatoes add a dash of summer colour & flavour to the Linguine Vongole recipe.
I would like to say I first ate this Linguine with clams and cherry tomatoes while holidaying in Italy, but I’m pretty sure it was at Wellington Italian eatery Mari Luca.
While I’m no longer a Kiwi resident, my clam of choice is still the New Zealand Little Neck. It is the Iron Man of clams, with an armoured shell to rival Tony Stark’s, which gives the molluscs the best chance of withstanding the journey from sea to your saucepan intact. They taste great too.
Make sure you use the sweetest tomatoes you can find, so they complement the sweet & salty clams. You won’t need to chop them as they should break down just enough while cooking, but if you prefer you can give the skin a little slice before cooking – they’ll be reminiscent of a tomato that’s burst with ripeness.
While the butter adds a smooth richness to this sumptuous seafood pasta dish, the key to getting this linguine vongole recipe right is balancing the garlic, anchovy, shallot and chilli to enhance the delicious salty clam & sweet tomato combo. If in doubt, err on the side of caution. It would be a shame to overpower the clams – even Iron Clam cannot withstand a mass flavour assault.
Linguine with Clams and Cherry Tomatoes (Linguine con Vongole e Pomodosrini) Recipe
- 500g linguine
- 1kg fresh clams, washed & cleaned
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1-2 chillies, finely chopped
- 250g very sweet cherry tomatoes
- 1-2 anchovy fillets, chopped
- Large handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Olive oil
- Large glass white wine
- 50g butter
- In large pan, cook linguine in salted water. It needs to be al dente, so about a minute or so less than packet instructions.
- At the same time, in a larger pan on a medium heat, fry the shallot, garlic, chilli, tomatoes, and anchovy in generous glug of olive oil. After a couple minutes add a splash of wine and cook a further 5 or so mins.
- Add the clams and the rest of the wine. Cover pan with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 2-3 mins, or until all the clams have opened. Give the pan a good shake – it’ll help the clams open up and tear the tomato skins just enough.
- Drain the pasta, and toss into the clam mixture with the parsley and butter.*
- Return lid, turn off the heat, and leave everything to sit in the pan for a couple of minutes. The linguine will soak up lots of the delicious cooking liquor, without cooking any further itself.
- Serve in warmed pasta bowls, spooning over any remaining cooking liquor.
* You will have of course timed this to perfection, so that the clams and the linguine are ready at the same time to mix together. But if unsure about timings, it is much better to have the linguine ready before the clams. The pasta can sit a while and be heated up again with the clams, but vice versa would lead to the clams becoming tough and rubbery from overcooking.