Pasta Vongole (Pipis)

Pipis are yummy little clams found around Oz and New Zealand. Substitute them with whichever clam-like molluscs you can find around your neck of the woods.
Years ago, pipis were primarily used as bait in South Australia, and it was not until Italian immigrants introduced vongole into restaurants in the 1990s that they became part of our culinary repertoire.

As with much of our ‘wild caught’ seafood, pipis have been over-harvested in recent years. Consequently, the Department of Fisheries has implemented a closure on the harvesting of pipis for several months of the year. This can vary, depending on how well the pipis are growing each season. This strategy has allowed the pipis population to rejuvenate, and has been effective way to return the pipis to a sustainable level. So,what this means to you, the consumer is…. feel free to enjoy them while they are in season.

When using fresh pipis, you need to purge them in a large bowl of fresh (not salted) water for a few hours so that they release any sand. Rinse them out and repeat the process.

Serves 4

1 kg pipis (clams)

3 large garlic cloves

2 tbs olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

Juice of 1 large lemon

1 cup chopped parsley

300 grams pasta (preferably linguini or fettuccini)

In a dry pan sautéed the garlic in the oil.

Add the pipis (clams) along with parsley and lemon. Apply the lid and allow to steam on high heat for 2 minutes.


Remove the lid and add the white wine. Stir through and cover with the lid and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Remove the lid and allow to cook for a further 1-2 minutes.


In the meantime, cook your pasta as per instructions on the pack in salted water. Once cooked, strain the pasta using a colander.

Remove half of the pipis from the fry pan and set aside. Remove the meat from the remaining pipis and dispose of the empty shells.

On low heat, add the strained cooked pasta to the fry pan and toss until pasta is well coated.

To serve, transfer the pasta to individual serving bowls and scatter with the remaining pipis.

Serve.

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