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Jun 9, 2014 03:03 PM

Spaghetti alle Vongole - addition of mashed potato??

I recently had some excellent Spaghetti alle Vongole at Peck in Milan.

There was a noticeable starchy ingredient in the pasta - seemed like some form mashed potato was added

Has anyone come across a preparation like this?

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  1. Maybe highly concentrated pasta cooking water? I've seen instant mashed potato flakes suggested as a thickening agent, but I wouldn't expect that in a Milanese restaurant. Was it like an added substance, or just a difference in mouth feel?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      Here's a picture. I was assured by the waiter there was no dairy-butter/cream.

      Does not really pop in the picture but there appears to be some thickening agent used in the sauce / reduction coating the pasta and clams. Some of it was semi solid which led me to my initial assumption that possibly mashed potato was used. If it was concentrated pasta water, there sure was a lot of starch in it.

      1. re: Sgee

        Could be that the pasta water was indeed very starchy after a long use in service. But I seriously doubt any additional thickener was used. In some Sicilian and other southern pasta dishes, breadcrumbs get tossed in after cooking, but this does not seems to be one of them.

      1. I seriously doubt that you'd find mashed potatoes added to your pasta (or anything else, really) in Italy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pikawicca

          It's just reduced pasta water.
          No way you'd get mashed potato in pasta in Milan IMO.