Linguine With Clam Sauce

Plated linguine with clam sauce

This recipe is relatively fast and easy, and a great way to use some of the frozen clams in your freezer. It’s a family favorite, and one that my mom makes every time I fly back east for a visit. Now that we harvest our own clams we have tweaked the recipe to suit any kind of edible bivalve you manage to dig up. The buttery white wine sauce carries a little kick from red pepper flakes and a little citrusy zing from the lemon. We love it!


  • 1/2 lb thawed clams (razor, horse, cockles, etc.) roughly chopped reserving their juice
  • 1 lb linguine fini
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (we usually use pinot grigio)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp high-heat oil (avocado is our go-to)
  • 2-3 medium-large shallots finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1+ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 packed cup fresh, chopped parsley
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup pasta water


  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan and add the oil. Start a pot of water for the pasta, salting the water generously.
  2. Add shallots and garlic to the butter and oil, and turn it down to a low simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes.
  3. Pour in the white wine, it may seize up in the pan which is fine, but you want the alcohol to mostly cook off at a very low simmer uncovered.
  4. Add red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. At this point your water should be boiling, so go ahead and cook the pasta to just a little softer than al dente.
  5. About 5 minutes before the pasta is done, add the chopped clams and all their juice to the sauce. Do not let them overcook or they will get tough and chewy. They will be a very pale pink and slightly springy when they are done.
  6. When you drain the pasta, reserve about a half cup of the pasta water. At the same time, add the parsley to the sauce and stir it in.
  7. If you feel like the sauce isn’t liquidy enough, add a little of the pasta water at a time until it is the consistency you like. For reference, we usually serve this dish in a shallow bowl with a small amount of the liquid in each serving. It can be more dry if you like.
  8. Just before serving, add the lemon juice to the sauce and stir.

The most important thing about this recipe is not to overcook the clams. It’s a real bummer when they have the texture of a rubber band. You can always taste the sauce as you go, and add more red pepper flakes if you like it a little hotter, and adjust the salt and pepper accordingly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *