When buying Vongole or clam shells, you should always opt for the fresh ones, in fact they should be alive. They can easily be stored overnight in the fridge. You can buy them washed, but if not, then you will need to clean them. See my tips below. This recipe is based on the Italian version and requires no cheese, so put that Parmesan back. The seafood is the hero and you truly want to taste that seafood flavour without overpowering it. If using fresh pasta, it’s such an easy and quick meal to make providing your fish monger sells you washed clams. If using dry pasta, allow an additional 10-12 minutes for cooking.
If clam shells haven't been washed the sand needs to be purged. First, give the shells a scrub (if dirty) then place them in salted water for approx 4-6 hours. The water should be as salty as sea water. They will open up and release the sand trapped inside. Tip out the water and give them a rinse. The ones that remain open are probably dead and should be discarded. To be sure lightly tap them on the shell, and if the shells don't close then throw them away. If the shells close, then keep them, this may take a few seconds.
If using dry pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine, cook 1 minute less then directions and finsih in the frying pan.