Spaghetti alle Vongole ( Clams with Spaghetti )

Today a few people are coming to lunch and we thought as summer is almost upon us let’s do a seafood lunch. So what does the weather do ? It turns back to winter  of course, 15C with a windchill taking it down to 12C with heavy clouds threatening rain all around. Still we have bought the clams so we are committed. Spaghetti alle vongole is the pasta dish and then prawns and squid on the wood burning cooker outside as the main for the girls and veal chops for the boys though in the end everyone will share. I will be outside at the wood burner hoping for some heat from the fire.

So first dig up your clams from the beach. You need to be very quiet and listen for one of them to cough. Once one does he gives the rest of them away and you can then dig them up and put them in your bucket. Keep them overnight in fresh water so they can clean themselves up, though little do they know what they are preening themselves for .


Now if for some reason like us you don’t have a clam beach nearby you need to buy the little beauties. They aren’t cheap down here in Puglia €12 a kilo so almost double the UK price. My fishmonger tells me they come in from Spain on a plane and when he picks them up they are all singing

I’m not sure if I believe him as they are pretty quiet now but maybe that is just the language barrier. I know how they feel !

Then you tap tap tap them to make sure they are closed

Tap tap tap

The local recipe is

1 kilo Vongole

500 grams mussels and 200 grams prawns

4 tomatoes – chopped

1 glove of garlic

2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

black pepper

1/4 cup of brandy or whisky

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Put the olive oil into large pan and heat. Add garlic and brown. Then toss in the toms and the parsley and stir.  Add all the shellfish and the brandy having taken a slug to check it is a good year. Cook for 20 mins on a low heat.  Boil the water and cook your spaghetti while all this action is going on. Open the wine once the water boils and have a large slug to make sure it is okay. Once the seafood is done toss the seafood into the drained spaghetti and mix well. Take another very large slug of the wine to make sure the air hasn’t ruined it and open the next bottle unless your slugs aren’t quite as big as mine. Now pour almost as much olive oil over the food as you gave yourself in the wine glass and serve into bowls. Bob’s your uncle it’s done!

On the education theme of the past few days I was racking my brains for a story that was about a teacher and had something to say about Heaven or Hell as it is Sunday today. Then I remembered this one:

The following is an actual question given on a University of Arizona chemistry mid term, and an actual answer turned in by a student.
The answer by one student was so ‘profound’ that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well :
Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?
Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.
One student, however, wrote the following:
First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving, which is unlikely.. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.
This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.
So which is it?
If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, ‘It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,’ and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct…… ….leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting ‘Oh my God.’

Enjoy your Sunday, my first glass of wine has been poured. It won’t be my last !


About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
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