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Spaghetti with White Clam Sauce Recipe

Spaghetti with White Clam Sauce Recipe

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Molly Aronica

Clam Sauce

This recipe for spaghetti with white clam sauce is quick and easy. Keep a can or two of clams in your pantry, and you'll be able to whip up this great pasta dish in no time for a satisfying weeknight meal. Add a handful of chopped tomatoes while the sauce is cooking if you're looking for some extra body.

Click here to see Recipe SWAT Team: Pasta Dishes.


  • ½ pound spaghetti
  • 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • One 6 ½-ounce can clams, chopped (juice reserved)
  • ¼ cup clam juice
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Fresh chives, chopped, for garnish
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish


Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water until desired doneness.

Meanwhile, add oil to a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. When the oil is heated, sauté the garlic for 2-3 minutes and then add the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 more minute. Add the clams, reserved clam juice, and the ¼ cup of clam juice, and wine to the pan — when the sauce starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve immediately topped with chives and parmesan cheese.

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 plump garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup (a 6-ounce jar) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ cup white wine
  • juice of 1 orange, freshly squeezed (about ¼ cup)
  • 3 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed, rinsed, and drained
  • kosher salt for the pasta cooking water
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley


Recipe Summary

  • 1 (8 ounce) package linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10 ounce) can baby clams, drained with juices reserved (such as Bumble Bee®)
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce (such as Classico®)
  • 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste (Optional)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste (Optional)

Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the linguine, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but still slightly firm, about 11 minutes. Drain well.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until it begins to brown slightly. Stir in the onion cook and stir until the onion becomes lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the reserved clam juice and wine. Simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Stir in the Alfredo sauce and clams cook and stir until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Serve the clam sauce over the linguine, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Spaghetti with Clam Sauce

Among his significant contributions to our culinary landscape, our namesake hosted the first-ever American food program, I Love to Eat, on the fledgling medium of television in 1946. A frequent guest star on his show: pasta. &ldquoIf I could afford the calories, I&rsquom sure I could eat pasta three times a day,&rdquo he wrote in James Beard&rsquos Simple Foods. &ldquoIt is to me one of the shorter routes to heaven.&rdquo We couldn&rsquot agree more.


  • 2 quarts littleneck clams
  • White wine
  • 4 to 5 large cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • ¾ cup chopped parsley


Scrub the clams well and wash them in cold water to remove the sand from the shells. Put them in a heavy saucepan with ½ inch of white wine and the garlic. Cover the pan tightly and steam the clams until the shells open, 5 to 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, then drain. Put the freshly cooked spaghetti in a warm bowl. Pour the clams, still in their shells, and broth over it and sprinkle parsley on the top.

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • ½ tablespoon dried marjoram
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 6-ounce cans chopped clams, drained, juices reserved
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pound whole-wheat linguine, or spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Rub off excess papery skin from garlic heads without separating cloves, and slice about 1/2 inch off the top. Place each head on a square of foil (cut-end up). Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of water and pinch the edges of the foil together to make a package. Roast until cloves are very soft, 40 to 50 minutes. Unwrap and let cool slightly. Squeeze cloves out of skins into a small bowl set aside.

Heat oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add shallot and cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add marjoram and crushed red pepper cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add wine and bring to a boil. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until mixture has reduced to 1/4 cup, 10 to 14 minutes. (The wine will be nearly evaporated.) Reduce heat to low add reserved clam juice and roasted garlic and whisk until smooth. Stir in clams and 1/4 cup parsley heat gently over low heat. Keep sauce warm.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.

Meanwhile, make gremolata: combine 1/4 cup parsley, lemon zest and garlic clove mix well.

Drain the pasta and transfer to a large, warm serving bowl. Stir lemon juice and butter into clam sauce, and pour over pasta. Toss gently, then sprinkle the gremolata over the top. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges.

  • 1 can (10 oz) Fancy Whole Baby Clams, drained (reserve liquid)
  • 1 package (8 oz) dry linguine pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

In medium skillet, heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic for 3-5 minutes. Stir in wine and clam liquid bring to a boil for about 3 minutes to reduce liquid. Stir in clams, parsley and pepper. Cook until heated through.

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Spaghetti with Cockles in White Clam Sauce

Quick and easy, but also elegant, this spaghetti with cockles in white clam sauce dish is perfect for weeknights or weekend entertaining.



Place the cockles in a large bowl of cold, well-salted water. Soak for 30 minutes, then repeat.

In a small bowl, combine the clam juice and cornstarch.

In a large skillet, add the olive oil and butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until starting to brown. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the wine, turn the heat to medium high, and cook for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, then add the lemon juice and clam juice slurry, and whisk for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, parsley, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and the clams, and cover with a lid. Steam the clams in the sauce until they open, 6 to 10 minutes.

Divide the pasta among four to six serving bowls or place in a large serving bowl, top with the clam sauce and a sprinkle of parsley, and serve.

Spaghetti Squash with White Clam Sauce

Use a knife to carefully cut 1 medium size spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds, lightly oil the insides and season with salt and pepper and then place the squash cut side down on a baking tray and place the tray into the preheated oven.

At some point while the squash is baking, you'll need to finely mince 2 - 3 large cloves of garlic and rough chop 1/3 - 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves.

Depending on the size of the squash, it'll take around 45 minutes to an hour to roast and then flip it over to cool down just a bit.

At that point, add 3 - 4 Tbs olive oil to a large heavy bottomed pan on medium heat and saute the minced garlic for 30 seconds or so.

Strain the clam juice from four 6 1/2 ounce cans of chopped clams into the pan and let that gently simmer along for a few minutes.

Then add the strained chopped clams to that and add the chopped parsley and let that gently simmer along for a couple of minutes.

All that's left is to use a fork to loosen up the strands of spaghetti squash, divide it into bowls, ladle the white clam sauce over the top of that and finish with some grated Parmesan or grated Asiago cheese.

For a richer sauce, add a couple of Tbs of butter with the parsley and stir that in.

Spaghetti with White Clam Sauce Recipe - Recipes

This is a rerun from my old blog, but I’ve had several requests for it so I posted it today. This pasta dish is always a best seller at Italian restaurants, but very few people try to make it at home. As you’ll see in the video, the sauce only takes about 10 minutes to put together. By then, your pasta will be cooked and you’ll be ready to enjoy this classic dish.

A few VERY important points before we start. Have all your ingredients measured and ready to go. Do NOT drain the clams you’re using. When you separate your egg yolk make sure there is no white. And finally, when the cream mixture come to a simmer turn it off, and leave it off!

By the way, if you are about to post an “Italians NEVER put cheese in their seafood pasta dishes!” comment…save it. I’m half Italian and I love a nice grating of Parmigiano Reggiano on this dish. Remember, we make the rules! Except, of course, for Ranch dressing on Buffalo-style chicken wings instead of blue cheese dressing then you’re just insane!

1 pound spaghetti, linguini, fettuccini
2 jars baby clams with juice (you’ll need about 2 cups total, juice and clams – this is probably 4 or 5 cans from the supermarket, if you can’t find the ones in the jar I’m using)
1 pint heavy cream
3 cloves garlic
1-2 anchovy fillet
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup grated parmesan
basil to garnish
crushed croutons to garnish
salt to taste


This is fabulous! I had seconds, and hubby begged for thirds. Thanks so much for sharing. Reminds of what grandma used to make when I was a kid. I'm looking forward to serving this next time I have guests for dinner.

This might be an odd question but do you mean a single lb of uncooked pasta or cooked? I'm assuming uncooked but I thought I'd ask just in case. Thanks!

mai la panna con il pesce.
Apprezzo la buona volontà.

Hey, I'll put cream in if I want. you're not the boss of my clams!

Of Course, My respect, but isn't italian recipe or italian food!
In Italy, and i'm napolitan, we don't use cream with clams, never.

it is what it is. :)
. and it tastes good.

I belive that the taste is good but don't use "Italian Food" label! The italian food is another way! Are fresh little tomatoes del piennolo from vesuvio, are fresh clams from the neapolitan gulf, is garlic from Calabria, is fresh parsley, is extra virgin olive oil from Cilento, is a philosophy at table.
If you want i write the original recipe.

I'm Italian and I made it, so it is Italian food.

Also, growing up in America (where this blog and I are based) every Italian restaurant served pasta with clam sauce in two ways. White with cream and red with tomato.

Bye the way, you may be new to the blog, so you have read my many posts regarding the fact these these ethnic recipes are NOT authentic and not trying to be.

But, to an American these are Italian recipes, and categorized as such. Thanks!

btw, i would love the recipe.

Ok Chef John,
I want respect for my traditions and my native cuisine. If restaurants Americans cook spaghetti with clams and cream is not my business.
But you do not have to write that recipes are Italian.
The Italian cuisine has a very ancient history made of ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil, legumes, fresh vegetables, spices, cheeses and wines.
Please read and learn it:
it'is the italian bible cuisine!

You are missing my point. I have the utmost respect for all authentic cuisines. This blog's categories are by style of cooking. So that recipe is there so people (Americans mostly) can find recipes that want to try.

The category says, "Italian Cuisine" not "Authentic, Classic Italian Cuisine" Almost any pasta dish I do I tag on that category whether its made in Italy or not. Because Americans associate pasta with Italian cuisine.

Besides. The joy of writing a blog is complete artistic freedom, even if others do not agree. In your honor Im going to make a hot dog and chili linguine and put it in the Italian category! :P

Chef John,
I do not forget your point of view, is you do not recognize my!
Indeed, in Italy are adopting the "Mark of Authenticity" for Italian recipes to distinguish those false than true. For example, now that pizza, is recognized in Europe under the brand S.T.G (special traditional guarantee)and have 8 specifications for its preparation:
Customers are advised.

Number 1, filoverde, you are being an ass. I'm sorry if you feel strongly that this is not an "Italian" dish. What you fail to understand is that most people around the planet consider pasta dishes Italian, and bickering on the internet is not going to get someone to stop calling it what they want. Sorry, dude, not going to happen.

Number 2, Chef John, my mother is allergic to shell fish. Is there a decent substitute for the clams? I'd very much like her to enjoy this recipe as well.

Sure, diced chicken and chicken stock instead of clams and juice.

I have been making Spaghetti with white clam sauce since I was a teenager in the 1960s. I fell in love with it at "the Old Spaghetti factory" in San Francisco. -- I almost cried when they took it off the menu and so started making it myself. My old recipe used tons of butter - I find your recipe with NO butter lighter and very tasty. (Hubby had thirds) I am going to use this easier quicker delicious recipe from now on. Thanks Chef John! I did replace the basil with fresh flat leaf parsley because SAFEWAY wanted $4.00 for a bunch of wilted brown basil!
(to continue the rant. is Franco American spaghetti Italian?? -)

What makes your pretentious opinion so sacrosanct about what is an Italian recipe and what is not? Where are the rules governing this? and is your opinion true for all of Italy, or is Naples the only authority of what is Italian?

Fammi nu favore vaglio. Go sing a song and while you’re at it, leave the serious cooking to the real experts like chef John.

Who had that show "People are Funny", this would be a good one. LOL

I think that it is WONDERFUL that we can disagree! I think that the right to disagree is a wonderful thing just look at the interesting things we've learned from this discussion. If we all agreed. I wouldn't want to live there. Thanks for listening to my opinion!

Trying to transport this dish for Christmas eve?! What makes best sense?!