All Italians like Spaghetti with Clams (Spaghetti alle Vongole). Here in Tuscany, when I can take advantage of a beautiful sunny day, I feel the need to go to the beach, take a nice walk and have lunch at one of my favorite restaurants in Marina di Pisa or in Viareggio. I always look for a place right on the sea, with the lapping of the waves and the smell of saltiness foretelling the arrival of Summer.
I mostly order spaghetti with clams, one of my favorite pasta dishes.
I was only a child when Miretta, a friend of my grandmother gave us her famous "sauce with clams" ; it was inside some glass jars, under vacuum. She made so much sauce at one go and then kept as a spare until it was over.
Whenever I noticed those jars on the kitchen pantry, my eyes began to shine for joy, as if I had been in front to the most precious treasure.
And in fact for me it was it! And I could not wait to sit at the table to taste a good dish of pasta seasoned with that delicious sauce ... it is thanks to these memories too that I love this dish, so much.
Since our activity consists in cooking courses for foreigners I often surf around the web to look curiously how preparing Italian recipes abroad; I saw that some people add the butter to the sauce, others use even 7 cloves of garlic every 4 persons (OMG), other rinse the clams when cooked.
I strongly advise against it.
However, if you want to be sure about the creaminess of the sauce, you can dissolve a teaspoon every 4 persons of potato starch (or flour) in a bit of liquid from the clams and add it to the rest of the liquid previously filtered.
My tips for spaghetti with clams:
1. purge the clams in salted water
2. Check that there is no sand even after cooking
3. filter the liquid
4. throw away the clams remained shut after cooking (means they are dead)
5. never cook the clams for too long, because they tend to become gummy or worse, to dry
6. salt should not be added almost never because the clams are already tasty. If you add, do it just before placing the pasta in the pan
7. the most suitable pasta shapes are: spaghetti big (no spaghettini!), vermicelli and linguine