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Pasta con le vongole, pasta with clams


A classic Italian Christmas dish. Spaghetti with a fresh and flavourful tomato and clam sauce.


For the pasta:

1 pound, 454g, of pasta (spaghetti, spaghettini, linguine)


For the fresh pasta clams:

1-¼ pounds fresh pasta clams, cleaned well and kept cold until immediately before cooking

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

¼ cup white wine


For the sauce:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

½ medium onion, large chunks

2 litres tomato passata (puree)

2 tsps salt

½ tsp chili flakes (more if you like it hot!)

Chopped parsley for sprinkling


For the canned clams:

1 can whole baby clams, 142gm drained weight (284gm unopened net weight)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed

Good sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley leaves



In a medium size sauce pot (4 litre), over medium high heat, heat the oil for a minute.

Add the onion and cook, stirring often to soften slightly and let color. After a couple of minutes add the garlic and continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes stirring often until both the garlic and onion are lightly colored. Do not let the garlic burn!

Add the tomato puree, salt, and chili flakes and stir to mix well.

Cover and allow to come to a boil. Simmer covered on medium heat for 20-25 minutes.

Remove the garlic cloves and onion that have been cooking in the sauce.

Then in a separate small saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat for a minute. Add a clove of garlic, allow to cook  until colored lightly about 2-3 minutes while stirring often.

Add in the drained clams and the sprinkling of parsley.

Cook altogether for 2 minutes, remove the garlic clove, then add the sauteed clams to the tomato sauce.

Cook the sauce for another 5 minutes.

Check for seasoning and adjust to your liking.


Halfway through cooking the sauce, put a large pot of salted water to boil. When the water, comes to a full rolling boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions.


At the same time as you put the pasta water to boil, prepare the pasta clams.

Take the clean pasta clams, check for any opened ones and discard.

In a saute pan, add 2 tbsp olive oil and heat over medium-high heat for a minute. Add 2 garlic cloves and saute for about a minute stirring constantly. Add 1 tbsp of parsley and saute together for another 15 seconds.

Add the white wine and stir to mix everything well.

Add the clean, raw, unopened pasta clams to the pan and cover with a lid.

Allow the clams to steam open about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid, lower the heat to low.

Remove the garlic cloves and any unopened clams and let simmer for about another 5 minutes. You want the pan juices to reduce a bit but not dry out.

Add 1 cup of the tomato sauce to the clams and any remaining juices and stir together over low heat for a couple of minutes.


When the pasta is cooked, drain and place back in its pot.

Add a couple of big scoops of the sauce and mix well to coat all of the pasta.

Immediately, plate up some dishes with the pasta, add more sauce over top.

Place some of the pasta clams onto the pasta and finally sprinkle with some chopped parsley.


Be sure to have a nice chunk of fresh bread and a glass of wine ready to enjoy with your pasta.


Buon appetito!

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