Spaghetti Alle Vongole (Pasta with Clams) – I am happy to be participating in another International YouTube collab (#mangiareitalia) which is Italian for “Eat Italy”. For this collab 16 accomplished YouTube Chefs will be cooking alcuni ottimi piatti italiani. (which is “Some great Italian dishes”).
We are making Spaghetti Alle Vongole, which in English is Pasta with Clams. Vongole is the Italian word for Clams. This classic dish is an easy Italian seafood recipe that takes less than 30 minutes. It can be made mostly, with pantry ingredients.
You can make it with fresh clams or canned clams depending on what’s available to you. Oggi userò vongole fresche. For this recipe, I will be using fresh clams.
Pasta with clams (Vongole) is a classic Italian dish, and it’s also one of the simplest, most affordable pasta dishes you can make at home. For this dish, you can do all of the prep and make the clam sauce in the time it takes to boil the pasta. To complete the meal, toss a salad, warm some crusty bread, and pour a few glasses of the same white wine used to make the sauce.
This simple version is packed with garlic and a prudent amount of crushed red pepper. Or you could shell the clams before tossing them with their juices in the pasta.
How to Prepare the Clams
The recipe calls for Littleneck clams, which are readily available at most supermarkets. They are usually sold in a mesh bag because they are alive and need to breathe. If they place them in a plastic bag, remove them from the bag immediately when you get home from the supermarket and place them in a bowl (uncovered) in the refrigerator.
To prepare the clams, first, check that they are alive by making sure all of the shells are tightly closed. If any clams are open, gently tap them against the countertop; if they are alive, they will close their shells. Discard any clams that do not close their shells or that have cracked or chipped shells.
Next, put all of the clams in a bowl and cover it with cool tap water. Let the clams sit for 20 minutes. During this time, the clams will jettison the grit from inside their shells. When you’re ready to cook, lift the clams from the water and rinse it, scrubbing if necessary, to get rid of any sand from the surface. You will find that most supermarkets sell farm-raised clams, which are already quite clean, so you may not find a lot of grit or sand.)
Why this Pasta with Clams Recipe Works
- Easy, beginner-friendly Italian seafood recipe that takes only 30 minutes.
- Conveniently made with mostly pantry ingredients.
- Can be made with fresh and/or canned clams depending on what’s available to you.
- The sauce is extra flavorful thanks to a reduction of bottled clam juice, and plenty of garlic and butter.
- Parsley adds brightness and freshness to balance the rich, salty sauce.
What you will need for Pasta with Clams
- Clams – Vongole is Italian for clams. If you have access to a good seafood market and can get fresh clams, by all means use them. Littleneck clams are best.
- Canned Clams – I do like the flavor and texture of chopped canned clams, so you combine them with fresh clams. If you don’t have any fresh clams, using all canned clams will still work well.
- Dry White Wine – any variety of light, dry white wine will work, just avoid anything sweet or off-dry, such as a Riesling. Cook with what you would drink.
- Pasta – Linguine or spaghetti is classic in this recipe, but you can use any long pasta that you prefer.
- Rule #3 – NO Parmigiano cheese with seafood. In fact, watch the Parmigiano in general. It has a specific role in Italian cuisine and you can’t indiscriminately throw it on anything that you please. And treating fish or other seafood in this way is particularly offensive. Why order a beautiful piece of delicate fresh fish if you’re just going to mask the flavor with a strong cheese? If you really like the cheese that much, then just order cheese and leave the fresh fish for people who can appreciate it. Furthermore, no funny sauces or condiments on fish either. Just a little salt, olive oil, some parsley, and maybe a small squeeze of lemon at the most. Pour that cheese sauce over some French food and keep it away from mio pesce! Basta!
- 8 to 12 littleneck clams in the shell scrubbed
- ½ pound spaghetti
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ tsp crushed red chili pepper
- ⅓ cup white wine
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, soak clams in cold water.
- Add spaghetti to boiling water, and cook until slightly underdone; pasta will finish cooking in sauce.
- Meanwhile, place a large saucepan over medium-low heat, and add olive oil, garlic and chili pepper.
- Sauté gently, reducing heat so garlic does not brown.
- Add white wine and clams, and cover.
- Clams should open in about 2 minutes.
- Add hot drained pasta, cover, and shake pot gently.
- Allow to simmer for another 1 or 2 minutes until it is done to taste.
- Discard any clams that have not opened.
- Add half the parsley, and shake pan to distribute evenly.
- Transfer to a plate or bowl, and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
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If you like this recipe for Pasta with Clams, you should try our recipe for Pasta with Anchovies
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11 thoughts on “Pasta with Clams (Pasta Alle Vongole)”
Another International collab, Best of Italy
Fabulous! I’d have to buy frozen clams, unfortunately, so I’ll get this at a restaurant, but can’t make it at home.
I’m always hitting up my homie who just got married to her dude who is Italian. She has been with him quite some time, so I consider her a time legit resource for recipes although pasta and clams is one of my all time favorites.
Lovely recipe for the New Year Charlie. Happy New Year to you!
Charlie this looks fabulous. This is an all time favorite in our house.
I’ve never made clams at home, but I have made mussels, and it sounds like it’d be pretty similar. I’m curious to give it a try. Thanks for the recipe!
Love clams. I have made this with thick rice noodles. Yes, it looks like spaghetti