Tuesday, February 8


One of my best friends, Ter (short for Teresa), challenged me to include a few easy-to-follow-recipes into this blog for mothers like her who don't know how to cook (or so she modestly and humbly  claims).  She also mentioned that I should cite where I got the ingredients so that she could replicate everything as I require.  I'm labeling these recipes "Mother Teresa" on this blog.  And to kick things off, she's requested a recipe for Vongole.  So Ter, this one's for you!
Slice or chop (whichever you prefer) 5 shallots and 1 piece of garlic thinly.  If you don't have shallots like me (I forgot to buy them), you can opt to use onions.  Combine extra virgin olive oil and 10 grams of butter (if you don't have a weighing scale, just imagine those free butter that comes in single-sized packs in the hotels) on a hot pan.
Once your butter and olive oil are well-combined, place your Manila clams.  I like using about 20 pieces per person.  You can easily buy this in the wet market (I personally prefer going to Farmer's market at 5:30am, beating some of the restaurant/hotel chefs to the freshest catch) or if you can't wake up that early, you can buy this in S&R or any supermarket.
Pour a fourth or half a cup of white wine (measurements are per person) and immediately cover with a lid.  My stove is still on medium-high heat at this point.  I also happen to use Chardonnay because I had a bottle that was already opened.  For novice cooks, do not pour wine straight from a bottle if you're cooking with a gas range, simply pour your wine in a cup first as I've seen one too many bottles flare up.  Regulate your flame too because this might catch the alcohol and you'll end up doing a flambe!  Ladies, your hair might catch fire.

Allow the Manila clams enough time to cook.  You'll know it's done when the shells open up.  Discard shells that don't open and refuse to eat them if you're served any.
Add your pasta of choice.  I used a Bavette (De Cecco) because it's what I had in the pantry and because I like it the most of all the commercially-produced pastas.  You can get De Cecco in Landmark, but don't fret too much.  If you can't get De Cecco, use Barilla, or opt with what you have in your pantry already.  As a rule of thumb, I under cook my pasta by a minute.  For vongole, I under cook it for 1.5 minutes.  The reason why I under cook it longer than usual is to allow it to continue cooking with the Manila clams, allowing it to absorb it's juices, as I add it into the pan with shells.  Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  And add coarsely chopped parsley.  In my case, I used dill because of the abundance from my garden. 

Simple, fresh-tasting, and an eye candy of a dish, this must be served as soon as it's cooked.