Make This Easy White Clam Sauce

Pasta with Clam Sauce
Steve Cohen/Photolibrary/Getty Images
  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 2 to 4 Servings
Ratings (53)

Many Italian restaurants serve linguine alle vongole with fresh clams in the shell. You can replicate the briny-sweet flavor of this dish at home with convenient and readily available canned clams. Canned clams can be found in most major grocery stores and is a useful pantry staple to have on hand.

The recipe for white clam sauce comes together in less than 30 minutes. Serve it with hot pasta and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, a tossed green salad, and crusty bread to sop up the juice. Another delicious option is to spread it on a pizza crust with some mozzarella and parmesan cheese and bake for a hot and tasty white clam pizza.

What You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 large clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 10 oz can chopped clams (liquid reserved)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)​​

How to Make It

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large heavy skillet. Add the chopped onion. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until soft and aromatic. Add the garlic. Cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add minced clams with reserved liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid reduces by about half. Add salt, pepper, and parsley and stir. 

If serving over pasta, cook the pasta al dente and reserve some of the pasta water.

Add the cooked pasta to the reduced clam sauce and then add a few splashes of the pasta water to help the sauce thicken. Once the sauce is fully coating the pasta, serve immediately. If you plan to make clam pizza, you may want to reduce the sauce even further, so it is not too liquidy when you add it to the pizza crust. Pour the sauce over the pizza crust, sprinkle with cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted, usually about 5 to 8 minutes.

There are many ways to add variety to this dish and make it your own. If you want a more authentic flavor, add 1/4 cup of white wine when you add the clams. The wine will reduce and add a richness to the dish. For an even richer version, add a pat of butter when you add the clams. If you like a spicy kick, include 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper when you add the garlic and serve the sauce with more red pepper. For a fresh taste, add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest with the parsley. If you want to make this a fuller meal, add halved grape tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, quartered artichoke hearts, cannellini beans, or bias-cut sauteed asparagus when you add the pasta. Any leftover clam sauce should be stored in a sealed container in the ​refrigerator.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
276 Calories
8g Fat
34g Carbs
18g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)