Linguine alle Vongole - Pasta with Clam Sauce

overhead shot of a bowl of pasta with clam sauce

5 from 6 reviews

This recipe for Linguine Alle Vongole, aka pasta with clam sauce, is an easy and delicious classic Italian seafood dinner that uses mostly pantry ingredients and only takes 30 minutes to make.


  • salt for seasoning the pasta water and the sauce, as needed
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 20 littleneck clams, purged and scrubbed clean *see note to replace with canned clams
  • 1 6.5 ounce can chopped clams
  • 1 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1/2 lb linguine (bronze die cut if possible)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, divided


  1. Bring a large pot of water up to a boil and season with a generous pinch of salt. 
  2. In a medium saucepan, sauté the garlic and chili flakes in olive oil for about 2 minutes. 
  3. Add the wine, then the clams, cover and cook until they just start to open, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the clams to a bowl, then cover and set aside somewhere to keep warm.
  5. Drain the liquid from the canned clams and add that to the pan along with the bottled clam juice. Simmer over medium high heat until the liquid is reduced by roughly two thirds, about 5 minutes. 
  6. While the sauce is reducing, drop the linguini into the boiling water, stir, and cook until al dente as per package directions, about 8-10 minutes. 
  7. When the pasta is 2-3 minutes away from being done, reduce the heat of the pan to low, then add the canned clams and lemon juice. 
  8. Add the butter a few pieces at a time, while stirring, until fully incorporated. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt only if needed, then stir in half of the chopped parsley.
  9. Drain the pasta and add it to the pot, then toss around for a few minutes to allow it to absorb all the flavors. 
  10. Transfer to serving bowls and arrange the reserved clams around the outside. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley and serve immediately.


  • *If fresh clams are not available to you, simply replace them with an additional can of clams and proceed with the recipe, ignoring any prompts for the fresh clams. 
  • Use more or less garlic to taste - I love to use a lot, but adjust it to your liking.
  • It's important to salt the pasta water but avoid adding too much or it can result in an overly salty dish because clams tend to be very salty. A few big pinches will do. 
  • All brands of pasta cook up a little differently, so always reference the package directions before cooking.
  • It's important to use cold, unsalted butter to avoid the sauce separating or becoming overly salty. 


Keywords: linguini with clams, fresh clams, clam juice, date night