A simple yet sophisticated dish, this linguine with clam sauce is the ultimate date night dinner. With delicate fresh seafood flavor and noodles cooked in a buttery white wine sauce, you’ll want to make this all week long!
I’ll never say no to an easy pasta recipe, especially when there’s seafood involved. Though we’ve been loving seafood lasagna and shrimp pesto pasta, this linguine with clams is swiftly becoming our favorite seafood dish.
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Why you’ll love this linguine with clams recipe
If you enjoyed our seafood pasta, you’ll definitely love this dish. It’s just as fresh and as easy to make, but the sauce is more delicate and really lets the fresh clams shine.
This pasta recipe features freshly steamed clams and al dente linguine noodles, then gets tossed in a mouthwatering clam sauce featuring garlic, white wine, and butter.
- It’s easy to make. Like Boursin pasta, This recipe comes together quickly and is easy to make, even if you don’t consider yourself a whiz in the kitchen.
- Tons of options to customize. The sauce is simple, so there’s plenty of room to make your own spin on it. You can add, swap, or double up on many of the ingredients.
- Simple, yet fancy. Linguine with clams is a classical French dish that, once you give it a try, will easily slide into your weeknight dinner rotation.
The ingredient list for this pasta recipe is really quite simple. Honestly, you probably already have most, if not all, of the ingredients you’ll need to make it. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Clams. Preferably fresh and in shells.
- Noodles. Dried linguine is best, though if you’re in a pinch, you can swap it for fettucini.
- Garlic. Fresh and minced.
- Shallot. Peeled and sliced thin.
- Oil. Olive oil is best, but any neutral cooking oil will work well.
- Butter. A key component to the sauce. Unsalted butter is best as it allows you to better control the amount of salt added.
- Chili. For a touch of spice. This can be increased or omitted if you prefer your pasta to have no spice.
- White wine. A key component to the sauce.
If you’d like to make this dish without wine, simply swap it out for equal amounts of chicken broth or fish broth.
- Italian seasoning. To add essential Italian flavor.
- Salt and black pepper. Added to taste.
- Parsley. Fresh and finely chopped for garnish.
How to make linguine with clam sauce
As sophisticated as this recipe looks when it’s done, it’s wonderfully easy to make. Even if you’ve never cooked clams before, you’ll have no problem making this dish.
Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1- Prepare the clams
Clean the clams by soaking them in water for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, drain and rinse them, then wash each with a brush and set them aside. Discard any broken clams.
Step 2- Cook the pasta
Fill a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, then add the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions. After the noodles are finished, drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
Step 3- Combine the sauce and pasta
Heat oil in a medium skillet and sauté the shallots and garlic until translucent and aromatic. Add the wine and allow it to simmer for several minutes until the alcohol evaporates.
Then, add the spices, followed by the clams. Let this cook for 7 minutes, then discard any clams that didn’t open. Carefully remove the flesh from most of the cooked clams and discard their shells. You’ll want a few shells to remain for appearance.
Step 4- Assemble and serve
Add the butter to the skillet, followed by the cleaned clams, pasta, and reserved pasta water. Mix everything well, then garnish with fresh parsley, and serve.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Squeeze a lemon over the final dish. Just like in a seafood boil, the pleasant fresh flavor you get from a squeeze of lemon over seafood is the perfect combination.
- Add a splash of clam juice. Just a tablespoon is enough to impart an unmistakable minerality that will add layers of flavor.
- Use different types of clams. A combination of clams such as manila, littleneck, and steamers will add a variety of textures and make for an interesting presentation.
- Add plenty of parmesan cheese. Like Gigi Hadid pasta, you can never go wrong with extra cheese.
As good as this recipe tastes as is, you should feel free to experiment and customize it to suit your preferences. Here are some recommendations:
- Add extra seafood. Shrimp, scallops, mussels, and calamari are all excellent additions that will pair nicely when tossed in this buttery white wine sauce.
- Add spinach. Lightly sautéed spinach is the perfect subtle addition that will pack a little more nutrition without compromising the flavor.
- Swap the pasta. For a healthy, gluten-free alternative, swap the linguine noodles for this almond flour pasta.
To store: Place leftover linguine with clam sauce in an airtight container and store it in the fridge. Kept this way, it should last up to 2 days.
To freeze: Allow the pasta to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or freezer bag and freezing for up to 3 months.
To reheat: You can reheat leftovers on the skillet set to medium-low heat. Allow it to cook, frequently stirring, until the pasta has fully reheated. The microwave will also work. Simply heat the dish in 30-second intervals until fully warmed.
Frequently asked questions
Any dry white wine will perfectly cook into the clam sauce, especially a wine that has complimentary fresh acidity. Chablis, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or even a buttery Chardonnay are all excellent choices.
It really depends on where the clams come from and how old they are. If you’re buying from a local seafood purveyor and they’re fresh, then you do not need to rinse them. However, if you’re uncertain, then it’s always a good idea to rinse them first.
Linguine with Clam Sauce
- Clean the clams well, by soaking them in water for several minutes. Rinse them with water and wash each with a brush and set them aside, discarding the broken ones.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook a minute less than the instruction on the package. Drain the pasta and reserve one cup of pasta water.
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet and sauté shallots and garlic until translucent. Add the wine and cook shortly until the alcohol evaporates.
- Add the spices followed by clams. Cook for 6-7 minutes, discarding the clams that haven't opened up. Remove clams from the skillet and remove the meat from most of them, reserving a few shells for decoration.
- Add the butter to the skillet followed by the clam meat and pasta. Mix everything together then serve immediately.
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