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Linguine with Clams

Linguine Alla Vongole

Cuisine: Italian
Region: Campania

A simple yet immensely delicious recipe, Linguine with Clams. It is incredibly easy to make it, too: first the sauce, then the pasta, then you combine – and that’s it. The only trick: it has to be served hot. Enjoy! 🙂

Serves: 4 to 6
Cooking time: 15 to 20 min
You will need: a big skillet or frying pan, 2-3 bowls and a pot. The pan or skillet must be big enough to accommodate the amount of pasta you’re cooking. If you’re using fresh clams you may also need a fine sieve or cheesecloth.


  • 500g (1 Lb) Linguine or other similar kind of pasta (see Notes).
  • 200g to 300g (7oz to @10oz) clams, fresh or canned.
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
  • 2-3 very large garlic cloves, chopped.
  • 4 Tbsp chopped parsley.
  • Salt to taste.
  • A lot of black pepper and/or 1 pinch of crushed chili flakes.
  • Optional: if you want your clams in red sauce, then you will also need 2 big ripe tomatoes peeled, cored and diced into small pieces (or a small 400ml / 14oz can of diced tomatoes).
  • Optional: a dash of lemon juice.



If you’re using canned or packaged clams

  1. Simply open the cans or package, empty their content in a bowl together with their juice, and skip to next step: “The Clam Sauce”.

If you’re using fresh clams

  1. Wash the fresh clams by scrubbing them with a brush under cold running water. Do not let them stand in the water for any period of time – they might open, and you don’t want that.
  2. Take a frying pan or skillet and place the clams in it.
  3. Pour into the pan or skillet 1/4 cup olive oil, turn on the fire to high, cover with a lid and let the clams cook for approx. 6 minutes, until they open. Remember to shake the skillet or pan from time to time.
  4. When ready, remove the pan or skillet from the fire and put it aside, uncovered and wait until the clams are cool enough to handle.
  5. Then, take a bowl and start removing the clams from their shells over the bowl.
  6. The bowl will also collect liquid; you need this juice. Strain the liquid through a very fine sieve or cheesecloth, to remove any lingering sand (yes, the clams were scooped up from a sea bed, indeed.).
  7. Put the clams and their sieved liquid in a bowl and put the bowl on the side.

The Clam Sauce

  1. Take the pan or skillet and empty 1/4 cup of olive oil in it.
  2. Turn the fire on, high – but not too high: you don’t want the olive oil to smoke.
  3. Empty your garlic in the pan and saute until it’s golden brown and aromatic (it won’t take long).
  4. Remove the pan from the fire, wait for a beat or two, and then add the clams, the juices, the parsley and salt and pepper to taste. (While you’re doing this, be careful not to splash liquid or sizzling oil around.)

The Pasta

  1. Cook the pasta in a lot of salted water until their almost al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, gently re-heat the sauce in medium-low fire.
  3. When the pasta is cooked, use a ladle to catch a few Tbsp of pasta-water and put the liquid in a bowl.
  4. Drain the rest of the water.


  1. Transfer the pasta to the pan or skillet containing the sauce.
  2. Add the pasta-water.
  3. Increase the fire to medium.
  4. Mix well for a minute or so.
  5. You’re done!


  • Grind a lot of black pepper and/or sprinkle a fraction of your chili flake pinch over each plate.
  • Adding a dash of lemon juice is not a bad idea.
  • Serve hot!

Notes on Linguine with Clams

  • You can scale the recipe down or up – no problem there. If you’re scaling down, pay attention to the amount of olive oil: if it’s too little, it may not work.
  • You can always make the clam sauce beforehand and keep it in the fridge.
  • Instead of clams you can use mussels too!
  • If you’re using fresh clams and the clams open while you wash them… it’s not the end of the world. They will probably shed any sand they had in them and lose a tiny bit of flavour while cooking- but that’s all.
  • If you’re keen in red sauce then add your peeled, cored and diced tomatoes in the pan or skillet immediately after you saute the garlic. Simmer for about 5 minutes in medium fire and then carry on with the rest of the instructions.
  • If you’re using canned tomatoes for the red sauce, then it would be useful to check the ingredients of the can. The only preservative should be ascorbic acid (Vitamin C, that is).
  • You can use other kinds of pasta too; e.g. Pappardelle, Fettuccine, Tagliatelle, etc.
  • You don’t need cheese with this recipe, trust us.
  • A glass of white wine would be nice with it. (Just a thought.)

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