I'm not sure if you've been to the seaside in Italy? If you have you'll no doubt recall sitting outside at a little family run trattoria, the scent of the sea, the delicious aromas of seafood dishes bubbling away in the kitchen.
Those memories are to treasure forever. Short of going back to a little Italian seaside town, the best way I know of to bring those memories flooding back is to cook this dish.
Inhale the aromas, take that first bite and you're back in Italy, nonna (grandmother) chatting away in broken English, about how this dish is a family tradition, the sound of the sea in the background.
Here then is our nonna's recipe for spaghetti with clams and pistachio pesto...
8,8 oz/250g of spaghetti
3,5oz/100g pistachios (peeled and not toasted)
1,5oz/35g of parmigiano cheese
6/7 basil leaves
grated zest of half a lemon
1 pinch of salt (+ 2 handfuls of salt to cook pasta)
1 tsp of black pepper
1/2 cup/100ml olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup of white wine
1,1lb/500g of clams
a handful of fresh parsley
Start by making the pistachio pesto: in a bowl, add pistachios, parmesan, fresh basil, grated zest of half a lemon, 1 pinch of salt, 1tsp of black pepper and, gradually, the olive oil (add some of the cooking water from the pasta to make it lighter).
Blend everything with an immersion blender. While the pistachioIn the meantime, add 2 handfuls of salt into the boiling water and pour in the spaghetti.
In a pan, brown a clove of garlic in some olive oil, add the clams (just leave them in a bowl with some salted water for 1 hour to clean them), add 1/2 glass of white wine and cook it covered until all the clams open (4/5min); drain the clams and keep their sauce for later.
In the same pan, add the spaghetti ‘al dente’, add the filtered clams’ sauce and mantecare (stir the pasta with the sauce). Turn off the burner, add the pistachio pesto, a little bit of cooking water, the clams and a handful of chopped fresh parsley.
Mix all together, serve and enjoy!