Project Description

Linguine alle Vongole (Clams)

This pasta dish is a favorite of mine and of my mom. She used to make it for me all the time, usually on Friday nights. It started during Lent when those observing would abstain from meat on Friday, but it continued well into the rest of the year. My dad used to clean the clams and she would make the sauce. It's been years since she's made it. It always seemed like magic to me. I never thought I could mimic her skill, but then one day I was missing this dish too much and decided to try it out. The results were like going back in time. It's so much easier than you would think. This recipe serves about 4. I throw off the average but who's counting.


  • 1 pound linguine
  • 2 dozen fresh clams, cleaned and kept cold
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup white wine
  • hot pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 bayleaf
  • salt to taste
  • 4 or 5 stems of parsley, finely chopped
  • Reserved pasta water
  • Additional olive oil for plating


  • Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil and then drop linguine in and turn with tongs or a wooden spoon
  • Meanwhile in a straight sided pan or 6-7 quart pot, saute the garlic in olive oil over low heat for about 5-7 minutes or until it begins to color to just golden (do not allow to burn) then discard the garlic
  • Add the hot pepper flakes, salt and bay leaf
  • Then add clams to the pot and stir once to incorporate oil
  • Next add the white wine or vermouth
  • Raise the heat to medium and cover for 7-10 minutes, stirring once or twice and checking to see if all clams are open
  • Note: that if any clams do not open, they are bad and should be discarded
  • Remove clams from heat once open
  • When the pasta is cooked to almost al dente (about a minute less than the directions on the box), reserve about a cup of pasta water, drain the linguine and add to the pot with the clams and stir carefully over low heat to incorporate the sauce into the linguine
  • Add some pasta water as needed to bring your sauce together and stir; then continue to cook about a minute
  • Remove from heat and then stir in the parsley
  • Serve immedialtey