Spaghetti alle vongole is a Neapolitan classic that became a staple of Italian-American cuisine. For decades, white wine, garlic, and meaty clams have been coming together in American kitchens in a perfect balance of fancy and comfort food.
But this isn't your Hoboken bro's spaghetti and clams—this is Missy Robbins' version. Robbins is the chef, owner, and mastermind behind Brooklyn's insanely popular Italian eatery Lilia and showed us how to take this dish to the next level while respecting the simplicity of the original.
When Robbins dropped by to check out our rooftop garden, she went straight for the dill, fennel, and mustard flowers, which was the perfect way to freshen up this old-school staple. But it was our garlic that really blew her away. "This garlic is just… pristine," she mused. "You don't have to peel this. It's so cool."
When you're making spaghetti and clams, the garlic is as important as the vongole, so you're going to need eight cloves of garlic for this recipe. It's a lot, but it's also the perfect counterpoint to all of those peppery herbs and lemon; that, and two tablespoons of butter.
But no matter how much garlic you throw into the pan, we guarantee that the person you make this dish for will still want to kiss you after eating it.