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Linguini & Clams Recipe

Linguini and clams is a dish that I seldom eat. I am also unlikely to ever order in a restaurant simply because not everyone can cook shellfish to suit me. I suppose it’s that way for a lot of chefs. Every once in a while, whenever I do get a hankering for this simple flavorful Italian dish, as happened in this case. Whenever the craving hits the preparation is always the same. Littleneck clams steamed with a little white wine and butter with lemon then tossed with linguini. The herbs and seasonings are subject to change based on availability. As luck would have it when I pulled up to the seafood counter at the store there were pats of lemon herb butter in the showcase. One bag of clams and a tub of lemon herb butter later I was on my way.  

Clams are one of the most nutritious foods in the world, and they offer an exceptional range of nutrients.
Healthy uncooked clams will be closed. As the clams cook the heat will force the shells open.

Easy + Delicious

Linguini and clams is one of the most popular ways to serve this nutrient rich shellfish, but feel free to serve steamed clams with whatever you please. A chunk of olive bread, my personal favorite, or any other rustic bread is recommended to sop up the remaining sauce.  The sauce can be made with any dry or semi-sweet white wine. Don’t go out of your way to buy a special bottle of wine. That flat bottle of Moscato lingering in the fridge will do just fine. What matters here is the richness of the butter paired with the acidity of the wine to create a light silky sauce that flavors the clams and pasta perfectly without being clingy or overpowering.  

linguini and clams

Linguini and Clams

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: clam,, linguini, mollusk
Servings: 2
Author: Sian



  • 20 little neck clams
  • ½ lb linguini
  • 1 TB oil
  • 4 TB butter
  • 1 TB lemon juice ½ lemon
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • ¼ C parsley chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 2 + 1 tsp salt
  • hot pepper optional


  • Fill a pot with about 3 inches of water. Add two teaspoons of salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. While the water is heating, put the clams in a bowl and cover with cold water and set aside for 20 minutes. This will help to release any sand and dirt that is inside the clamshells.
    When the water begins to boil add the pasta into the water. Use a fork to stir the pasta. Cook until al dente. While the pasta cooks
    Dice the tomato, mince the parsley, and slice the garlic. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the butter when the butter melts add the seasonings and stir. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and let the seasonings simmer while you rinse the clams.
    Drain the cold water from the clams if any dirt sticks to the shells give them a little scrub to release. Rinse the clams under cold running water. Place in the pan with the seasonings. Add wine, turn heat up to medium. Stir and cover. Steam until all the clamshells are opened. Uncover pan. Continue simmering until sauce begins to bubble and starts to thicken. While the clams cook drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Toss pasta with oil.
    When all the clamshells are open stir in the pasta and turn off the heat. Serve with a crusty bread on the side 
    20 little neck clams, ½ lb linguini, 1 TB oil, 4 TB butter, 1 TB lemon juice, 1 tomato, 2 cloves garlic, ¼ C parsley, 1 tsp thyme leaves, 2 + 1 tsp salt, hot pepper
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