Easy Linguine with Clam Sauce uses pantry ingredients and comes together in a snap! It’s perfect for those busy weeknights and even fancy enough for a date dinner!
I was a picky eater growing up. There’s still a few things I’m a bit hinky with and any kind of bivalve is on that list. Shrimp? I can eat those until the cows come home. But oysters, clams, mussels? Yeah, I can eat them to a point and then I’ve had enough. I’ll get a bite that is gritty or just tastes weird to me and I’m done.
But I keep trying to eat them!
Because they do taste good. And this easy linguine with clam sauce? I could have licked the plate. The hubs said it was the best version I have ever made. Which is when I know it’s time to put it on the blog.
It’s not that I won’t make this again. Because it seriously was the best ever linguine with clam sauce recipe I’ve ever made. But sometimes I perfect a recipe, share it on the blog, and then forget to make it again.
That’s what happened with the chicken stroganoff recipe. Which is a shame because that’s a great recipe! I made it again I told the hubs I needed some for a photo shoot. He left me the smallest spoonful ever. “Yeah, that’s not enough. I’m going to have to make it again.” “Aww. Sorry honey! That’s too bad.” You can hear the sarcasm on that, right?
I have not ventured into the fresh clams area yet. I stress the yet. At some point, I will make. But this recipe is a linguine with canned clam sauce. No, the sauce isn’t canned, but the clams are. And I used bottle clam juice for the sauce and added some to the pasta water. So I guess you could say this is a linguine with clam sauce using clam juice, too.
What is linguine with clam sauce?
In Italy, linguine with clam sauce is popular through Naples and Rome. It’s made with tiny clams called vongole. They’re kin to cockles, I guess. I know we don’t have anything that small here, really. So, in the States we use chopped clams. Maybe some parts of the states have smaller clams, but we do not. So, chopped clams it is. And canned ones at that.
There’s a varied answer to the question about what pasta goes with clam sauce. I used a linguine, but sometimes spaghetti or vermicelli are used. The base of the recipe is spaghetti alle vongole so I’m assuming spaghetti is the authentic pasta to use, but use whatever long pasta you want. Linguine, fettucine, thing spaghetti, angel hair (vermicelli), or even other long pasta like fusilli or even bucatini.
There are two main types of linguine with clam sauce recipes. This is a linguine with white clam sauce recipe. It is built made with oil, garlic, clam juice, and pasta water. The other is a linguine with red sauce recipe. It has tomatoes and basil in there. Never is there cream or cheese in either recipe. The Italians believe, I think, that cheese and seafood do not go together. The flavor of the cheese overpowers the seafood.
Since there is no cream in this recipe, it is a dairy free linguine with clam sauce. The trick to making it creamy and delicious is to cook the pasta until almost al dente. Then you add some of the pasta water to the clams, drain the past, and let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce with the clams, clam juice, garlic, and pasta water.
Use the pasta water.
Authentic alfredo has no cream in it. It’s just pasta water. Cacio e pepe? Also pasta water. I’ve added pasta water to me Bolognese and make sure it’s perfectly creamy and sticks to the pasta. Pasta water is also used in carbonara to make it nice and creamy, too. The trick to it is the starch in the water emulsifies with whatever butter or fat is in the pasta making for a creamy and rich sauce.
That is one bowl full of homemade linguine and clam sauce goodness. Packed with garlic and olive oil, pasta water, lots of clams, and a little crushed red pepper. There’s other ingredients in there, but those are the most flavorful. I like the little spice that crushed red pepper add to the clam sauce. If you don’t like the kick, then just omit it.
Now, one of the tricks I have is to use the juice from the canned clams to add to the pasta water. This infuses the pasta with clam flavor. It also heightens the clam flavor when you add some of that pasta water to the sauce. It’s like clam concentrate! This little trick makes for a most delicious linguine with clam sauce recipe.
Usually, I just toss the pasta with the sauce and call it a day, but not this time. This time, I let the pasta simmer with the sauce. The pasta soaked up so much of that clam flavor from the sauce. I know it is the only reason this recipe was the ultimate linguine with clam sauce recipe.
And this won’t be the last time I use this technique either. With simple sauces that have few ingredients it will make a world of difference in the flavor of the whole dish. Allowing ALL the flavors and ingredients to meld together in the sauce makes for the most delicious recipe.
That is one clam packed bowl of goodness!! The canned clams are tender. The question is can you reheat linguine with clam sauce? Yes, you can. However, in my experience, the clams become stronger in flavor and chewier.
That’s why I don’t typically eat the leftovers of this recipe. However, I will if there’s a lot of pasta. Because I will just eat the pasta with all that delicious clam infused flavor and nibble at the leftover clams. Because I’m a picky eater, remember?
- 8 ounces linguine
- 2 tablespoons garlic flavored olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 20 ounces canned clams
- 8 ounces clam juice
- 3/4 to 1 cup pasta water
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Cook pasta according to package directions omitting salt and oil until almost al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium skillet on medium-high.
- Add the olive oil and swirl to coat before adding the garlic. Sauté the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes or until it becomes aromatic.
- Carefully add the wine to the pan and simmer until reduced by half.
- Stir in the garlic salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, clams and clam juice. Simmer until the clams are heated through.
- Carefully ladle some of the pasta water into the pan. Add enough for to coat the pasta; about 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups pasta water.
- Once the pasta is almost al dente, drain and toss with the clams and sauce in the pan.
- Simmer until the pasta is cooked to your liking.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 397Total Fat 6gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 73mgSodium 684mgCarbohydrates 37gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 40g
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