Spaghetti No. 3

with Clams Sauce & Bottarga



250 g Rummo Spaghetti n° 3
1 kg freshest clams in their shells
Bottarga (salted & dried mullet or tuna roe), to taste
Lemon zest, to taste
1 chili pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1⁄2 glass dry white wine


Soak the clams in salted water (40 g of fine sea salt to a liter of water). Meanwhile, use a peeler to remove several strips of zest from a lemon, finely chop the leaves from a few sprigs of parsley (set aside). In a wide sauté pan, sauté the remaining parsley stems, garlic, lemon zest and chili pepper in olive oil. When the clams have released their salt and grit, rinse them and pour them into the same pan. Sauté quickly. Add the wine, toss a few times to blend, then cover and cook until the alcohol evaporates. Remove the clam shells one by one as they open (to avoid overcooking) until all open. (Never force a shell to open. If it stays closed, do not serve or eat it.) Keep the cooking liquid (this is called “acqua santa” or “holy water” in Naples) and filter it to remove the garlic, zest, chili pepper, parsley stems and any grit. Remove ⅔ of the clams from their shells (using another shell is an excellent method!) and let them sit in the “acqua santa.” Set aside the other 1/3, still in their shells. Salt a pot of water, bring it to a boil and cook the spaghetti, draining when still extremely “al dente” (almost uncooked) directly into the sauté pan. Add a little of the pasta’s cooking water and some of the filtered liquid. Sauté briefly. Add the remaining “acqua santa” with the shelled clams as well as the clams still in their shells. Continue tossing and sautéing, adding some chopped parsley, mixing the flavors and finishing the cooking of the spaghetti. Plate, paying attention to finish each serving with a proper ratio of shelled and unshelled clams and some creamy sauce from the pan. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a grating of bottarga to taste. Buon appetito!