When accomplished proper, traditional spaghetti alle vongole is among the best meals on the planet. It’s wealthy but recent, briny, and garlicky—and what enjoyable to snack on clams between bites of saucy pasta. The enduring sauce of pink pepper–flecked garlic oil, white wine, and clam liquor will also be adjusted to match the season, your temper, and the components you occur to have round. I’ve added cherry tomatoes for sweetness and acidity, bumped up the fishiness with anchovies, perfumed the garlic oil with fennel seeds or recent oregano, and added texture with crunchy bread crumbs.
Even beloved classics deserve a shake-up. And whereas the standard white wine sauce wants no enchancment, there’s a springtime play for it with a posh acidic kick from preserved lemon paste and a vibrant, herbaceous one-two punch from spring onions and mint. The spring onions deliver a candy and grassy allium taste, whereas the mint brings its recent, fragrant chew. (And if you will get your arms on hyperseasonal ramps or inexperienced garlic, each will be scrumptious substitutes for a few of the garlic and scallion right here.) Assume: spaghetti and clams, however for light-jacket-wearing, cherry-blossom-peeping, farmers’-market-grazing days.
Should you’ve by no means cooked with preserved lemon paste, it’s like including a success of funky, savory tang to no matter you’re making. Preserved lemons, a central ingredient from the Center Japanese and North African pantry, lend an acidity far more attention-grabbing than recent lemons alone can. They're primarily entire lemons fermented in salt, so the times of growing older add seasoning and umami, too. I like New York Shuk’s preserved lemon paste, however you too can produce your own paste by blitzing home made or jarred preserved lemons in a meals processor till easy. I’m leaving the quantity of preserved lemon paste on this recipe versatile as a result of the salinity and acidity they include can fluctuate significantly—style your paste, begin with a tablespoon or so, and regulate as you go.
A notice on the timing of cooking this dish: Personally, I might drop my pasta within the water to cook dinner simply as I used to be bringing my wine as much as a simmer—leaving myself sufficient time to steam open and take away the clams from the pot and switch the tremendous al dente spaghetti straight from the boiling water to the sauce with my tongs. If this multitasking dance sounds a bit hectic, I perceive. Merely cook dinner your spaghetti, reserve a little bit of pasta water, and pressure and set the pasta apart within the colander till you’re prepared so as to add it to the clam sauce.