It has been said that Italy is the top producer of Europe’s clams. It has also been said by Seafood International that in a year’s time that Italy will consume more clams than any other European country. So it is no surprise that Italians use clams—you guessed it—in their pastas.
The popularity of “vongole” in Italy is astounding given that every one of Italy’s 21 regions and provinces have a culinary tradition that settles around clams. As guessed, in the coastal areas the use of clams is more common. However, the clam has a unique history with the country. Ancient texts show that they were served in feasts dating back to Roman times. But more than anything clams were considered a peasant meal. If locals could not afford to buy seafood in the markets they would scour the coast and dig up clams, hence how the love affair began with the marriage of pasta and clams. Thankfully, it is still a staple in Italian cuisine.
Donna M. Picciocchi, Editor