This spaghetti alle vongole with bottarga is a family favourite. 






Skill level

Average: 4.5 (14 votes)


  • Fine sea salt
  • 500 g spaghetti
  • 125 ml (½ cup) extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 kg vongole (baby clams), rinsed well
  • 30 ml dry white wine
  • 50 g bottarga
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced flat-leaf parsley leaves

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Serves 6 as an entree. 

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add a generous amount of sea salt, then the spaghetti and cook until al dente.  Drain well, reserving some of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add 80 ml (⅓ cup) of the oil and when hot, add the garlic and chilli and cook for 1 minute or until the garlic is soft. Add the vongole and wine, cover and shake the pan well. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes or just until the shells open.  Remove from the heat.
  3. Remove any vongole shells that haven’t opened and, using a blunt knife such as a butter knife, gently pry them open. If the meat is plump and intact on one side of the shell, use them; otherwise discard them.
  4. Remove the meat from half the shells in the pan (removing the shells from some of the Vongole makes it easier to toss with the spaghetti). Return meat to the pan. Finely grate half the bottarga into the pan and toss over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the spaghetti and toss to coat well, adding some of the reserved pasta cooking water if necessary to give a creamy consistency. Adjust the seasoning with salt if required. Toss through the remaining oil.
  5. Transfer the spaghetti to serving bowls, grate over the remaining bottarga, scatter with parsley and serve.


Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.