Linguini with White Clam Sauce

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I remember for a while when I was young, we had linguini with clam sauce fairly often. I don’t know if the traditional dish had a surge of popularity in the 80s-90s or what. A Google search really didn’t provide me with any information on that. Anyway, we ate this stuff a lot when I was a kid. And then it sort of disappeared. To be honest, I totally forgot that it ever existed. Then, a few weeks ago, Shawn and I went out to a seafood restaurant. As we stood up to leave, I saw that one of the people at a table near us was eating a big bowl full of pasta with clams. It looked so good! The memory of white clam sauce came flooding back to me, and I knew that I would be making it in the near future.

When I sat down to try to create my recipe, a funny thing happen. I thought, “But clam sauce comes from a can!” and I got a little confused. Those of you who know me, know that I would never eat sauce from a can, so this really made me laugh. Of course you can buy a canned version of the sauce, but why do that when it’s so easy to make from the simplest ingredients?

Really, this sauce is super simple to make and requires little more than wine, garlic, onion, and parsley. I did use some canned baby clams in their juice but, looking back on it, fish stock would have worked just as well to thin out the sauce. This linguini and clam sauce doesn’t take long to make at all, and the use of fresh ingredients results in a dish that tastes so much better (and so much less salty!!) than anything you can get from a can.


I know I’ve written about DeBoles pasta on here a few times, but I want to mention it again – I love this stuff! All of the varieties are good, but my favorite is the line that uses jerusalem artichoke flour. The pasta I so soft, without being sticky and it seems to cook up perfectly al dente every time. The boxes are also a little smaller than your standard box of pasta — just 4 servings — which makes measuring it a little easier. I wither the whole box and plan to have leftovers or eyeball it and make half the box. Either way, it’s much easier than trying to portion out spaghetti from an 8 serving box.

I also wanted to mention the wine that I used here — it’s a 2008 Lacheteau Vouvray that I picked up a while ago at Trader Joe’s a while back. I don’t usually drink white wine, but I actually really enjoyed this one! It wasn’t sweet like a riesling, but it wasn’t as harsh like sauvignon blanc can be either. It also didn’t make my mouth go all puckery after I swallowed it. I’m not good at describing wine, but I’d say it’s dry but still slightly fruity – I think I tasted a little bit of apple? Anyway, it was good and I would buy it again.   


Linguini with White Clam Sauce
I used canned baby clams in addition to fresh littlenecks in this pasta, but you could easily use one or the other. If you want to omit the canned clams, stir about a half cup of fish stock into the sauce. You’ll also want to be sure to slice the garlic, not mince it. This will allow it to melt into the sauce and will give you a nice, mellow flavor rather than a bitter one.

  • 8 ounces dry linguini
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 head garlic, sliced
  • pinch dried hot red pepper flakes
  • pinch dried oregano
  • 8 Tbs dry white wine
  • 1/2 can baby clams, plus juice
  • 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
  • 1 Tbs butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the linguini according to the directions of the package.

White that cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet or pot set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, red pepper, and oregano and cook for 1 minute, taking care not to urn the garlic.

Stir in the wine (the sauce will turn white as you add it!) and the liquid from the baby clams. Cook for a few minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Add the littlenecks, cover, and steam for about 5 minutes or until the clams open. Stir in the baby clams and cook until just heated through. Remove from heat and set aside the littlenecks. Stir in the butter and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Darin the pasta and return to the pot. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss to coat. Top with littlenecks.

Serves 4.
Approx. 350 calories, 10 grams fat, 1.3 grams fiber, 15.5 grams protein   


Hi, I'm Lauren!

I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. I also blog at The Busy Foodie. Read more...


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22 thoughts on “Linguini with White Clam Sauce”

  1. What a georgous & tasty dish!! Special too, to enjoy with your loved one!


  2. I could drink white clam sauce. That stuff is just soooo good. The wine’s name sounds all fancy 😉

    Do you have a particular brand of canned clams you like? All I know is Snow’s is a no-go for me, but always looking for what tastes good.

    • I like the Crown Prince Natural Boiled Baby Clams a lot. They’re nice and small and very tender. Not overly salty either. Honest Weight sells them – they’re on the shelf thats next to the olive bar.

  3. I love your recipe. We’ve made our almost exactly the same – the only difference that I can see is that we use flat leaf parsley instead of curly leaf. Visually about the same, but taste is very different. If you ever get fresh clams (Costco has them quite often) then make clam linguini on one night and then paella on the other. A great duo. Nice photos too.

    • thanks! I actually prefer flat leaf parsley too (the curly was very strong) but the store was all out!

      Paella sounds great. We don’t have a costco here (I wish we did!) but there is a decent fish market.

  4. looks amazing well, everything on here does love your blog I have always been a big fan love Rebecca


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