■□■ 佐藤直木 助教
My mother is from Florence, Italy, so-called Italian Mamma. When you think of Italy, you may think of pasta, and that is true. My family used to eat pasta every day. Pasta made by an Italian Mamma is very delicious, and I would like to share my mother’s Vongole (clam sauce) recipe through this column. In Japan, the mainstream recipe is to quickly heat the clams in a single frying pan. But Italian Mamma’s vongole recipe is a recipe that brings out the flavor of the clams by simmering them for a long time.
1. Firstly, put about 100ml of olive oil, 5-6 cloves of garlic, 10cm of celery into small pot. Simmer it for 30 minutes with low heat. Be careful not to burn the garlic and celery. Take the celery and garlic out from the pot after 30 minutes. Simmering for a long time keeps the flavor of garlic and celery in the olive oil, which forms the base of the vongole sauce.
2. At the same time, add sand-free clams and white wine to another frying pan and heat over low heat until the shells of all clams open. Turn off the heat and transfer the liquid and clams from the pan to two separate containers.
3. Transfer the liquid from step 2 to the small pot used in step 1 and put it on low heat for about 20-30 minutes to evaporate the moisture. By adding the liquid which all the umami from the clams has melted down to the olive oil, it further condenses the flavor of the clams.
4. Cut about 15 cherry tomatoes in half. Add cherry tomatoes and salt to the pot in step 3, simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes to further evaporate the moisture.
5. Remove the shells of the clams at the same time. Leave about 5-10 clams in their shells for decoration.
6. Transfer the clams from step 5 into the pot in step 4 and simmer for 10 more minutes.
And now vongole sauce is done. The strong umami flavor of the clams perfectly goes well with thin pasta. Of course, it is delicious to dress spaghetti with this sauce, but I recommend thin linguine.
This recipe takes a long time, roughly 1.5-2 hours to simmer. However, the steps are very simple. I recommend everyone to try it.