A little attention to detail elevates this dish from good to great - carefully infusing the oil, not adding too much liquid, ensuring that the alcohol in the wine is burned off. There are hundreds of variations on this recipe, but when we have telline (teh-leen-ee) in the shops we urge you to keep things simple and let these beautifully sweet clams really sing.
Serves 2, takes 20 minutes.
1. Prepare a large pan of heavily salted, boiling water in readiness for the pasta.
2. Finely dice the tomato, retaining the seeds. Slice the garlic into slivers (don't crush or dice). Finely slice the chilli into thin rings.
3. Place a deep frying pan over a low heat. Add the oil, tomato, garlic, chilli and a generous pinch of salt, and allow everything to warm up together, slowly. Cook over a very low heat - you'll see only the tiniest little bubbles moving through the oil - for 10 minutes. Nothing should colour.
4. While the oil is infusing, rinse the clams. To do this, tip the clams into a large bowl, cover with plenty of cold water and rigorously stir with your hands. Pour out the water, and repeat twice more with fresh water. Drain, discard any clams that haven't closed shut, and set to one side.
5. Put the pasta in to cook, and only cook it to very al dente - the trick is to finish the cooking process with the clams.
5. Remove the tomato, garlic and chilli from the oil with a slotted spoon and set to one side in a small bowl. It doesn't matter if there are some remnants of tomato in the oil, however all of the garlic should be removed.
6. Turn up the heat, add the wine to the infused oil and let it bubble and reduce for 3-4 minutes, until the alcohol has burned off (give it a taste to check). Add the clams and cook for 3 minutes, by which time most of them should be open. Add the juice of half a lemon.
7. Add the almost-cooked pasta to the clams along with 2tbsp pasta water and the cooked garlic, tomato and chilli. Add a lid and cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon and salt as desired, and serve immediately.
1 large tomato
1 fat clove of garlic
1 green chilli
4 tbsp olive oil
Big pinch sea salt
6 tbsp dry white wine
350g telline clams
250g long pasta - spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine all work well