spaghetti with clam sauce

spaghetti with clam sauce

The streets packed with outdoor tables as soon as the temperature hits 60 tells me I’m not alone in my itch to dine al fresco after the winter hibernation. The first sunny lunches are fantab but the dinners, not so much. Without fail each spring it takes one meal wearing a scarf tied tight around my neck, a napkin (or 2) wrapped around my legs like a blanket and eating as fast as possible so the food doesn’t get cold to get me to pump the breaks on the need to eat every meal outside. But just because dinners are staying inside for a few more weeks doesn’t mean the summer menu ideas, and crisp sauvignon blancs, can’t start flowing.

You’ll find this hybrid of summer-y shellfish and herbs and cozy pasta a nice transition meal for when the nights are still a little chilly but you crave that summer dining feeling.

For this recipe we used fresh clams so there was a little more prep work and from shucking to plating it’ll take about 45 minutes to make. If you grab canned clams it’ll be even quicker.

IMG_5849 clams   IMG_5862 clams roasted

About the clams.
For canned clams I’ve had great success using Snow’s chopped clams in clam juice for the entire recipe or in addition to the fresh clams if I want a meatier sauce. When using fresh clams I recommend shucking all of the meat out and discarding the shells. For presentation if you prefer to serve with a few clams in their shells you can cook a few small clams in the sauce in their shells without having to change the recipe. Your best bet is to use 1 or 2 clams in the shell per person and make sure they are thoroughly cleaned before adding to the pan.

IMG_5842 onion garlic parsley IMG_5875 red pepper 2 IMG_5891 clams cooking


Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • Clams 2 dozen
  • Olive oil – 3 tbl spoons
  • Garlic – 6 cloves
  • Onions – 2 small onions (1 ½ cups chopped)
  • Parsley – ½ cup
  • Red pepper flakes – ¼ tsp
  • White wine – ½ cup
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Thin spaghetti – ½ box
  • Shaved parmesan to taste
  1. Chop onions and parsley and crush the garlic. Shuck and clean clams, chop the clam meat into smaller pieces and reserve 1 cup clam juice.
  2. Pour olive oil into a large deep frying pan and sauté chopped onions and garlic on a medium heat for about 7 minutes
  3. Stir regularly to avoid sticking and being to cook the spaghetti
  4. Once onions and garlic are light brown add in chopped clams, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and white wine
  5. Sautee, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until clams are completely cooked. If sauce appears dry add in clam juice (1/4 cup at a time) and continue to sauté until desired consistency is reached
  6. Cook spaghetti until it’s al dente and drain. Add spaghetti into frying pan with clam mixture and sauté 2-3 minutes tossing continuously until spaghetti is coated with sauce
  7. Remove from heat and serve with fresh parsley on top



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