Linguine alle Vongole

 Linguini alle Vongole

This is my go to Sunday lunch because it's gorgeous and easy but also because it's pasta + shellfish, combining two of my favorite things. I can make this without a recipe in the time it takes to boil water and pasta because I've made it that many times. And you will too because it's the perfect weekend treat. I even grow parsley in my New York apartment so that I can whip this up at anytime. And for those days when you need to cook out of the pantry, you can easily make this with canned chopped clams as well.

Vongole White Clam Sauce Ingredients

Start off by purging your manila clams in salt water (instructions here) and boiling a pot of water for the pasta. I use Barilla's linguine fine because it cooks fast and the flat shape picks up the sauce well. Also full disclosure, the ingredients pictured above are for 1 serving but I wrote the recipe for 2 so don't get confused when your mise looks slightly different.

Clam Pasta setup (1 of 1)

While the pot of pasta water is coming up to a boil and the pan is heating up on medium heat, get all of the chopping and measuring out of the way. Chiffonade or mince the parsley, mince the garlic and slice the lemon in half. Measure out the white wine or sake and the butter.

Once the pan is hot, pour about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil with the garlic and crushed red pepper. Let it sizzle for a few seconds until aromatic and then pour in the white wine. Swirl the manila clams before draining and rinsing so that the clams pop out of the shell easily (allegedly the swirling makes them dizzy and loosens up the muscles). Place the manila clams carefully onto the pan in one layer and squeeze some lemon juice into the pan. Put a lid on to let the clams steam. Shake the pan a little to help the clams open a bit and start checking after 3 minutes to see if they've all opened up.

At this point your pasta water should be at a rolling boil. Salt the water heavily and cook your pasta. Make sure to set the timer for 1-2 minutes less than the shortest time on the box so you don't overcook it. Do not be lazy here, make sure to stir the pasta a few times to make sure there's no clumping.

Vongole Steaming Manila Clams

Once all the clams are open, remove them from the heat using tongs or chopsticks. You do not want to overcook these babies. Clams, like pasta, are gross when overcooked.

Vongole Finishing the White Clam Sauce

Turn up the heat to medium high so the sauce is simmering. Mount with butter to take the edge off the acid and help the flavors all come together. Toss in the parsley (save a little for garnish) and the sauce is done. By this point, the pasta should be cooked as well so drain that (save a little pasta water) and toss into the sauce. Add a splash of pasta water, toss a bit more and you're ready to plate and eat!

Linguini alle Vongole Birds Eye

Linguine alle Vongole
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Yukari
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 1/2 pound manila clams (pantry substitute: 2 cans of Snow's chopped clams)
  • 1/2 pound linguine fine (or any other pasta)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 2 pinches crushed red peppers
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine or sake
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 lemon
  1. Scrub and purge the manila clams in salt water
  2. Boil a pot of pasta water (high heat) and heat up a medium frying pan or skillet (medium heat)
  3. Mince the garlic and parsley
  4. Once the pan is hot, pour in 1-2 tbsp of olive oil with the garlic and peppers and let it sizzle for a few seconds until aromatic
  5. Pour in the white wine or sake
  6. Place the clams carefully in the pan in one layer
  7. Squeeze the lemon (I usually do a light squeeze but depends on how much acid you like) and place a lid on the pan to steam the clams
  8. Salt the pot of water and cook the pasta 1-2 minutes less than the time listed on the box
  9. Once the clams are all open, remove them from the pan and reserve
  10. Add parsley and butter to the pan and simmer for a couple minutes
  11. Toss in the pasta with a splash of the pasta water and coat with the sauce
  12. Plate with the reserved clams and enjoy!


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