I had some Littlenecks that needed to be used from an Island Creek Oyster order and we had already had some grilled and steamed, so needed to change it up. Linguini with Clams is popular on many Italian restaurant menus, but I have often found it rather soupy and the sauce didn’t do much for the pasta. We had just watched the move “CHEF” (if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it) and I was inspired by the pasta that the chef prepares that had a sauce clinging to every strand of pasta and thought clams would make a great addition. It turns out I was right.


Not only is this dish delicious, it is super easy and very quick. If you like clams, you will love it, and if you aren't sure, give it a try. The beauty of clams is that you know they are fresh (alive) if they open when steamed, they are not very expensive and can often be found in the fish department of many grocery stores in addition to fish markets. Of course, it's a bonus if you live near the source where they are plentiful. Add a salad and open a nice Pinot Noir and you have a restaurant quality meal in short order.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 Decadently or 4 as a “Primi” or smaller portion.


  • 24 Littleneck Clams, rinsed & scrubbed (You can substitute Manila or Countnecks)
  • 1 ½ TBSP Garlic, minced finely (4 Cloves)
  • 1 Fresno or Long Red Chili seeded & minced (1 TBSP)
  • ½ tsp Red Chili Flakes (optional)
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil Extra Virgin
  • 2 TBSP Butter
  • ½ Cup White Wine
  • ½ Cup Flat Parsley chopped
  • ½ pound Spaghetti


  • About 30 minutes before you are ready to cook, soak the clams in cold water to allow them to release any sand. Adding cornmeal or black pepper helps facilitate the process.
  • Bring a large pasta pot to a boil and add 1 ½ TBSP salt. Prepare Pasta according to package instructions (typically 11 minutes).
  • Heat oil and butter over medium heat until butter is melted, making sure not to burn the butter.
  • Add the Garlic, minced Fresno and chili flake (if using) and cook for a minute or two until fragrant, making sure not to brown the garlic.
  • Add the clams and the wine, cover and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes until the clams just start to open, then reduce the heat to medium low and return the cover to the pan so the liquid doesn’t reduce off.
  • Drain the pasta and add to the clams and stir thoroughly to coat in the sauce, continuing to keep over medium low heat. The sauce should not be too watery, just enough to coat the pasta.
  • Add the parsley and stir to evenly distribute.
  • Serve immediately in warm pasta bowls.
  • A great Pinot Noir is a perfect pairing.


  • While Linguini with Clams is popular on many menus, I find that Spaghetti is actually better here and is perfectly coated by the sauce. 
  • Clams will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week in a bowl wrapped with a wet dish towel.
  • Discard any clams that don’t open when you cook them, as this means they are dead.
  • Don’t worry if the clams don’t open right away, they may just take a bit longer. Reduce the heat to medium, making sure steam is still being produced, and keep tightly covered.
  • You will notice that I don’t call for salt here, as the clams are salty enough and don’t require it.
  • If you bring your water to a boil and are not ready to cook, simply turn it off until you a ready. It will only take 2-3 minutes for the water to return to a rolling boil.
  • Can’t find clams locally?  You can order them online from a number of sources that ship overnight, such as Island Creek Oysters and others.  



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