Spaghetti vongole with brown butter and breadcrumbs

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There is something between the combination of delicate, luxurious shellfish and (partly) eating with your hands that makes us extremely happy. And that goes perfectly with spaghetti vongole. The vongole (or cockles) with silky spaghetti, lots of garlic and brown butter… and we’re in food heaven. Are you coming?


For 3 to 4 people:

  • 500 grams of vongole or cockles
  • 200 grams fresh spaghetti (or dried)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter + a small knob
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • Splash of dry rosé or white wine
  • Handful of fresh breadcrumbs
  • Handful of fresh chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Vongole or cockles can be bought at the fishmonger, at the wholesaler and, for example, at Marqt . They are not difficult to work with and they are ready in no time, you just have to check that they stay closed when they should stay closed and open when they should open. Don’t worry , we’ll explain that step-by-step below.

To work

Check if there are any open specimens between the shells and throw them away. Rinse the vongole a few times with cold water to remove any residual sand. Then let them stand in a bowl of water for 10 minutes to make sure they have been rinsed well. Then drain them.

Place a large pot of salted water on the stove for the pasta. Just don’t cook the spaghetti completely. If you’re using fresh pasta, keep it for two minutes. Then drain and set aside.

Melt a little butter in a frying pan, add a clove of minced garlic and let it soften for 1 – 2 minutes, over low heat. Be careful not to brown the garlic! Bake the breadcrumbs in this until golden brown and crispy.

culy homemade vongole

And now the vongole!

Place a tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan with a lid (a skillet will work fine) and heat over medium to low heat. When the butter foams, add the onion, garlic and chili flakes. Let it soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the vongole, a dash of rosé, toss everything well and then put a lid on the pan. Shake the pan occasionally to make sure the clams get enough heat to open.

After about 7 minutes the shells are cooked and open. Remove them from the pan and let them stand for a while. If you find any vongole still closed, throw it away.

Allow the liquid that remains in the pan of the shells to reduce briefly, until it thickens. Then add another tablespoon of butter and let it foam and brown a little. Then add the spaghetti and mix everything well. Finish with salt and pepper.

Put some spaghetti on a plate, scoop a pile of cockles and finish with breadcrumbs and parsley. Enjoy your spaghetti vongole!

culy homemade vongole brown butter

More pasta recipes?

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  • Pasta with basil pesto, haricots verts and potatoes (pasto pesto, but good!)

Source: Culy by
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