Tagliolini with True Clams

  • Serves

    serves 6-8


(Tagliolini alle Vongole Veraci) Riviera, a trattoria facing the Giudecca Canal, served us this simple dish made with true clams, or vongole veraci (Tapes decussatus). The Venetian lagoon is also full of Asian clams (Tapes philippinarum—manila clams), and these may be substituted.


  • 6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 12 bunch parsley, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 12 lb. clams (true or manila), scrubbed
  • 23 cup tocai friulano or other dry Friuli white wine
  • 2 tbsp. good-quality Italian or California brandy
  • Salt
  • 1 lb. fresh tagliolini or linguine
  • 1 lb. grated parmigiano-reggiano


Step 1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat 5 tbsp. of the oil, the garlic, and half the parsley in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 1 minute. Add clams, cover, and cook for 1 minute more. Add wine and brandy and cook, uncovered, until alcohol has evaporated, 2–3 minutes.

Step 2

Cover and continue cooking, shaking skillet several times, until clam shells open, about 3 minutes more (discard any that don't open). Uncover and allow liquid to reduce slightly while cooking pasta.

Step 3

Season boiling water generously with salt, add pasta, and cook until just tender, 1 1⁄2–2 minutes (fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried). Drain.

Step 4

Add pasta to skillet with clams, reduce heat to medium-low, and mix well. Add cheese and remaining 1 tbsp. oil, and season to taste with salt. Cook for 1 minute longer. Serve garnished with remaining parsley.

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