Clam Linguine, or Linguine alle Vongole, is an elegant restaurant quality dish. But don’t be intimidated, it’s super easy to make.
It’s a gorgeous, yet light, pasta in a lemony, garlicky wine sauce. This is one of those dishes that is easy enough for any weeknight, yet impressive enough for special occasions.
Once you try this Neopolitan classic, you just might come back to it again and again…
Somehow, seafood pastas always seem to combine the best of both worlds: they’re really easy but seem like they come from a fancy restaurant.
This Linguine alle Vongole does have one little extra step in comparison, but trust me, it’ll be worth it when you dig in.
Ingredients for Clam Linguine
- Linguine – You could substitute spaghetti or fettuccini.
- Clams – Littleneck or manila. See below for buying and handling tips.
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Dry White Wine
- Lemon Juice
- Red Chili Flakes
Buying and Storing Clams
First of all, make sure you get your clams from a reputable supermarket or seafood dealer. You want clams that are fresh and healthy.
When you get them home, transfer the clams to an uncovered bowl and keep them in the refrigerator until ready to use. DO NOT store them in fresh water, as this will kill them.
Preparing the Clams
When ready to cook, first make sure that all of the shells are tightly closed. Gently tap any open clams against the countertop. If they do not close, this means they are dead and should be discarded.
Next, the clams must be “purged” of sand. If they come from the supermarket, they are likely farm raised and have little sand to begin with. Nonetheless, it’s better to take a little extra effort than risk sandy pasta.
Fill a bowl with cold water, and add 2 Tablespoons of salt per gallon of water. Rinse the clams under cold water, scrubbing off any grit. Add them into the salted water and leave them for at least 20 minutes, to purge the sand.
How to Make Clam Linguine
First, boil the linguine according to the directions on the package. You’ll want it al dente, as it will cook a bit more in the clam sauce. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add garlic and red chili flake and give them a quick sauté.
Add wine, lemon juice and clams. Cover and cook 5-8 minutes, until the clams all open. If not all have fully opened, cook a couple of minutes longer. Any that do not ultimately open must be discarded. Remove the cooked clams to a bowl.
Add in the butter, cherry tomatoes and pasta water. Simmer for a few minutes, then toss in linguini. Cook about 2 minutes.
Stir in the parley, taste and adjust for seasoning, add back in the clams and serve.
- Replace the white wine with red and add a can of diced tomatoes.
- Add some shrimp or scallops for a multi-seafood dish. Give them a quick sear, then set aside before cooking the rest of the sauce. Add them back in at the same time as the pasta.
- Pour in a dash of cream before tossing everything together to make it extra decadent (though this would be frowned upon in Italy).
- Give it some extra veggie power with mushrooms, zucchini, or artichoke hearts. Thinly sliced sundried tomatoes would go great here.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
We prefer to eat our seafood the day it is cooked. That being said, you can refrigerate this pasta dish for 1-2 days in an airtight container.
Simply reheat in the microwave or on stovetop. You may wish to add in a little water when reheating.
The next time you want a special meal in a hurry, give this Linguine alle Vongole a try. It’s become one of our favorite meals to impress with minimal effort. Easy, gorgeous, and oh so delicious. What more could you ask for?
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Linguine alle Vongole, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 8oz linguine
- 2lbs littleneck clams
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- salt, to taste
- Cook pasta al dente according to directions on package. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add in garlic and red chili flakes, sauté 2 minutes.
- Add wine, lemon juice, and purged clams. Cover and simmer 5-8 minutes. Remove clams to a bowl once opened. Some clams will take longer to open. Discard any that have not opened after 10 minutes.
- Add butter, pasta water and cherry tomatoes. Simmer a few minutes, until tomatoes start to burst.
- Toss in linguine and cook 2 more minutes.
- Add back in clams, along with fresh parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Serve immediately.
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