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5 from 4 votes

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce

Littleneck clams are tossed with al dente pasta in a garlicky tomato and white wine sauce.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound linguine or spaghetti
  • 3 dozen littleneck clams washed and scrubbed
  • 3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 3 anchovy fillets mashed
  • 6 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional, to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, etc
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes hand crushed or blender pulsed
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup parsley minced
  • 2 cups reserved pasta water will not need it all


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. In a large pan over medium-low heat saute the garlic and anchovies in a ¼ cup of olive oil. Once the garlic turns golden (about 2 minutes) add the crushed red pepper flakes.
  • To the same pan add the clams and the white wine. Turn heat to medium-high and cover. Remove clams as they open and set aside in a bowl tented with foil to keep warm.
  • After all the clams have opened (discard any that do not open after 7-10 minutes) turn heat to medium-low and add the tomato paste. Cook for 3 minutes then add the plum tomatoes and 1 cup of clam juice. Bring sauce to a low simmer.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta to very "al dente" in boiling water.
  • Add the very al dente pasta to the sauce and turn heat to medium. Thoroughly coat the pasta with the sauce for 1-2 minutes. Taste test and adjust salt and pepper levels if required. If required add a bit of pasta water to loosen up the sauce.
  • Finally, add the whole clams to the pasta and mix once more. Turn the heat off and serve in bowls dividing the clams equally. Top each bowl with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy!



  • The recipe makes 4 large servings or 6 moderate ones.
  • No salt was added due to the inherent saltiness of the clams, anchovies, and the pasta water. Adjust according to taste right before serving.
  • Any clams that remain unopened after about 7-10 minutes of steaming are most likely dead and should be discarded.
  • The extra reserved pasta water can loosen up the sauce if it dries out while waiting for guests to be seated. Use only a few ounces at a time to get the right consistency.
  • Linguine with red clam sauce does not store well and should be eaten right away.


Calories: 778kcal | Carbohydrates: 108.8g | Protein: 33.1g | Fat: 23.8g | Saturated Fat: 3.2g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 1447mg | Potassium: 1070mg | Fiber: 7.4g | Sugar: 16.8g | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 18mg