Spaghetti alle Vongole, or as we call it “Bongore,” is an Italian clam pasta dish that is very popular in Japan. You can easily recreate this dish at your home with just a few simple ingredients!
Spaghetti alle Vongole (ボンゴレスパゲッティ , ボンゴレビアンコ) is an Italian classic Clam Pasta dish. It’s a light yet flavorful pasta infused with garlic, briny clams, white wine, and chili flakes.
Clam Pasta In Japan
You may wonder why I’m sharing an Italian recipe as I mostly share Japanese recipes here on my blog. The reason is quite simple. Although this dish is an Italian classic, it’s also one of the well-known and most popular pasta dishes Japanese people enjoy at Italian or pasta restaurants (パスタ屋さん), along with Spaghetti Bolognaise (ボロネーゼ), Carbonala (カルボナーラ), and Aglio olio e peperoncino (ペペロンチーノ).
If you have visited Japan, you’ve seen firsthand how popular Italian cuisine is over there, especially pasta! Several Italian readers who had visited Japan told me that they feel Japan has some of the best Italian restaurants outside of Italy.
How to De-Grit Clams
Getting the sand out of the clams is one of the most important parts of this recipe. No one wants to eat gritty clams and ruin the meal, right?
My saltwater method is a very common technique in Japan. I thought it’s a universal method until someone told me Americans use cornmeal (Interesting! How do you de-grit clams in your country?). Whatever method you use, make sure to do this process right.
If you want to follow my method, you can find the tutorial here. It’s a slightly lengthy process, but it’s easy to follow and you will be pleasantly surprised how well your clams purges the sands with this method!
- 1 lb manila clams
- ½ lb spaghetti
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 red chilies
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 sprig parsley
- freshly ground black pepper
- kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- De-grit clams following this tutorial. Start this process 4 hours prior to cooking (or at least 1.5 hours before).
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, stirring occasionally, to prevent it from sticking together. Cook until al dente. Drain pasta into a colander.
- Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, add garlic and red chili pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and sauté until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add the clams and wine and increase the heat to medium. Quickly cover and steam for 5 minutes or until all the clams have opened.
- Discard the clams that didn’t open. Finely chop the parsley and add some of it, then season with pepper. Transfer the clams to a plate.
- Taste the sauce and season with pepper and salt (clams are already salty so you probably don't need to add too much salt).
- Add the pasta and toss until pasta is coated with the sauce.
- Remove from the heat and place pasta on a serving plate and put clams on top. Sprinkle some parsley and serve immediately.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Jun 5, 2013.