Linguine with Clams

Leave a Comment

February 11, 2023

Italian Main Dishes Pastas Recipes

Linguine with Clams is a classic seafood pasta that is so simple yet brings so much flavor! The clams bring a ton of flavor from their natural juices, and the sauce is emulsified with some butter and olive oil along with beautiful garlic and heat from the red pepper.

This dish is a perfect pasta to cook up on a weeknight or a special occasion to impress!

Watch the Linguine with Clams Recipe Video Below!

linguine with clams in a pan

Ingredients for Linguine with Clams

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for the best Linguine with Clams!

  • 8 oz Linguine pasta
  • 2 lbs. fresh clams
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley stems and leaves separated
  • 1 cup white white or chicken stock
  • kosher salt
  • lemon for garnish
raw ingredients for linguine and clams


I use a dry white wine such as Pinot Grio or Sauvignon Blanc, but you can easily substitute this for chicken stock if you prefer to omit alcohol from this recipe.

I personally used linguine in this dish but you can sub with any long pasta (for ex: fettuccine, spaghetti, bucatini, tagliatelle). You can use either fresh or dried pasta; my only recommendation is to use the highest quality stuff you can find! I like bronze-cut pasta because the surface of the pasta allows for more sauce to cling to it.

Fresh clams are ideal for this recipe, but you can certainly use canned clams as well. Instead of steaming the clams, let the sauce reduce and add the clams to the sauce. Cook them through for 1-2 minutes to heat and continue with the recipe as written.

Linguine with Clams: Recipe Instructions

Cleaning the clams

Linguine with clams starts with – you guessed it – CLAMS! These are littleneck clams that were bought fresh from the store, but first the need to be cleaned. Add them to a large bowl of salted water and scrub the shells with a soft brush to remove any debris if desired. Let the clams sit in the salt water for 20 minutes, which will filter the clams of any dirt inside the shells, while still keeping their juices in tact. Once cleaned, drain from the water and reserve in the bowl.

washing the clams in salted water

Starting the clam sauce

In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter and olive oil and then sauté the crushed garlic cloves, crushed red pepper flakes and parsley stems for 30 seconds. Let the aromatics infuse in the oil which will start a delicious base for the sauce.

frying garlic, red pepper, and parsley stems in butter and olive oil

Once the aromatics have been sauteed in the butter and olive oil, turn the heat to high. Add your cleaned clams along with the white wine or chicken stock and immediately cover and steam for 6-8 minutes or until the clams shells have opened.

steaming clams with white wine

Once the clams have steamed, remove the clams along with the garlic and parsley stems from the sauce and reserve the clams in a separate bowl. The clams have released all their flavor into the sauce and we will add these back in the end!

Reducing the Linguine with Clams sauce

We are now left with a beautiful sauce that we want to reduce and evenly coat all the pasta. Add the very al dente linguine straight to the sauce along with 1/2 cup of pasta water. We’ll need the starch from the pasta water to help thicken this sauce. Reduce the sauce by half at this point to really reinforce the clam flavor.

reducing the clam sauce in a pan

Once the pasta has been added, drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil and continue cooking over high heat until the sauce has reduced and the pasta is cooked to your liking. I purposefully undercook the pasta here prior to adding it to the sauce in order to time the sauce reduction and the pasta tenderness. This takes some practice but just account for an additional 1-2 minutes to reduce the sauce – this is how much less I cook the pasta to al dente.

adding the pasta to the clam sauce

Once the sauce has thickened to your liking (see the video for reference), add fresh parsley and the reserved clams to the pasta and give it a final toss! If desired, garnish with lemon and more parsley and enjoy!

Linguine and clams finished in a pan



  • Salt your pasta water! This is the first step in ensuring your dish is properly seasoned. The Italians believed in adding flavor in every step of the cooking process and salting your pasta water can be seen as your ‘foundation’. I like my pasta water to be as salty as the sea – briny but not so salty that it’s unbearable. I use kosher salt but you can use whatever salt you have on hand.
  • Save your pasta water! You may find the sauce to be too thick, especially when mixed with the pasta, so save some of the pasta water to loosen as needed and create the creamy consistency you want.


Account for the time that the sauce will take to reduce and thicken (1-2 minutes) and undercook your pasta by the same amount of time. If the sauce has reduced too much before the pasta is done to your liking, you can always add additional pasta water to loosen the sauce back up and continue cooking the pasta.

If you liked this recipe, check out some of the most popular pasta recipes on the blog! Please consider giving a rating and commenting down below what you thought of the recipe! It really helps out the blog!

linguine with clams in a pan

Linguine with Clams

Linguine with Clams is a classic seafood pasta that is so simple yet brings so much flavor! The clams bring a ton of flavor from their natural juices, and the sauce is emulsified with some butter and olive oil along with beautiful garlic and heat from the red pepper.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 2


  • 8 oz Linguine pasta
  • 2 lbs fresh clams
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 bunch fresh italian parsley stems and leaves separated
  • 1 cup white white or chicken stock
  • kosher salt
  • lemon for garnish


  • Soak clams in salted water for 20 minutes to clean, then rinse with cold water and drain.
  • Cook linguine until very al dente (1-2 minutes) less than package directions in salted boiling water.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat combine olive oil and butter until melted. Add chili flake, crushed garlic and 2-3 parsley stems to olive oil and fry for 30 seconds.
  • Turn the heat to high. Add clams along with white wine or chicken broth, cover and steam for 6-8 minutes until the clams have opened up. Remove from the sauce into a separate bowl and discard any unopened clams. Remove the parsley stems and garlic, then reduce the sauce about 1/2.
  • Once the sauce is reduced, immediately add the linguine and about a 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  • Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pasta. Cook and toss the pasta over high heat until the sauce has thickened slightly and emulsified.
  • Add back the clams and freshly chopped parsley and mix to combine. Garnish more parsley and lemon, if desired, and enjoy!
Keyword clams, linguine, pasta
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Join The Conversation

Share Your Thoughts

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

Recipe Rating