Easter is at the doors and Positano is filled with frantic activity, painters rushing around with overflowing buckets of color touching up weather beaten façades, workmen being unceremoniously ushered out of hotels, while patient cleaning women are left to deal with the dust. All of this, as the first guest arrive searching for some reprieve from a dull gray winter…
Each year the same pattern repeats itself: the season ends, long discussion begin, architects are summoned, workmen consulted and large bowls of pasta consumed, while days follow one and other.
Finally Christmas arrives and with it a new festive season spent joyfully embracing family and mouth watering recipes such as “Scorfano all’acqua pazza”, “Spagetti alle vongole veraci” and others cooked to perfection. All while the sea infuriates, the steps of the village turn into streams of endless water and sad fish scramble to make themselves scarce, knowing their end should they fall into one of the fishing nets waiting to usher them to eternity.
Oh bliss, oh joy, a holiday will soon follow in far away destinations, where the inhabitants of Positano can at last sit in cafés enjoying a simple espresso, without the worries of home. Only then will the remodeling work finally start and with it a frantic rush against time, the season is at hand and each and every Positanese swears that the following year the work will start the day the season ends.
LINGUINE ALLE VONGOLE VERACI
- 1,2kg/2 1/2lb fresh clams in their shells
- 600g/22oz spaghetti
- 125ml/1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- a pinch of ground chili pepper
- 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Scrub the clams well under cold running water. Place them in a large bowl of salted water for two hours. Rinse well, discarding any that are broken or dead.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil for the pasta.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook until the garlic is golden then discard.
Add the clams to the pan. Cover for 2-3 minutes. As soon as the clams open, lift them out using a slotted spoon. When all the clams have opened (discard any that do not), strain the liquid in the pan through a layer of cheese cloth or paper towels and reserve.
Return the clams and the strained liquid to the frying pan. Add the parsley and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile add salt and the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.
Drain the spaghetti. Tip in into the frying pan with the sauce and stir well over moderate heat for 2-3 minutes more. Taste for seasoning. Serve at once without cheese.