For my version of this classic dish I like to make a very thick cherry tomato sauce. Start by sweating off 4 finely chopped shallots with 2 cloves of garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper and a few sprigs of thyme over a low to medium heat for around 4-6 minutes or until just soft. Add half a bottle of dry white wine and reduce over a medium heat until almost evaporated. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the sauce with a good tablespoon of tomato paste. Turn the heat up high and reduce the sauce down making sure you stir regularly, cooking for approximately 60 minutes, so all the juice is evaporated and the sauce is thick. Keep warm and covered on a low heat.
Lots of garlic, chilli and shallots are what make this delightful dish come alive! You will need three more large pans, one for the pasta, one for clams and the third for fried garlic, shallots and chilli. The key is to get the timings of the next steps bang on, so that all three pans are all ready together.
Have one pot of water, plenty of salt and a splash of olive oil simmering away, ready for your spaghetti. Cook the pasta for 8 to 10 minutes to al dente, stirring every few minutes.
Finely chop 4 shallots, 1 clove of garlic and a birds eye red chilli along with 2 extra shallots and 2 cloves of garlic for the clams.
Place a dry pan on a high heat and add the clams, finely chopped shallots, garlic, whole, washed stems of fresh flat-leaf parsley, a few sprigs of thyme and the remaining half bottle of dry white wine. Cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes on a high heat until the clams just open. Drain the clams in a colander over a bowl or jug to reserve all of the juice. Remove and discard the herbs.
Keep an eye on the pasta, take it off the heat a little undercooked if you are worried about over cooking it as it will carry on cooking anyway. When your clams are cooked, drain the pasta well and drizzle in plenty of olive oil.
Place the third and final pan on a high heat with a good film of olive oil covering the base. When the oil is very hot add the remaining finely chopped shallots garlic and chilli, season well and fry for a minute or two to release all the lovely flavours, stirring very quickly so it doesn’t burn. Add the clams, stir then add the spaghetti followed by the thick tomato sauce and clam juice. Stir well and add sprinkle with lots of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.