Spaghetti With Clams Recipe

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Total cost: $3.79/serving
Restaurant price of comparable dish: $15 – $30
Fast food seafood meal price (Long John Silver’s platter) avg. price/serving: $8.79

Clams are a big Butler Family Favorite.

My sister and I beg my mom to make Portuguese-style clam boil at least once a year in the summer.

Yet even though we associate clams with summertime, clams are best eaten during months that end with Y… which means that winter is the best season to eat these mollusks.

Clams are serious comfort food, so that’s no problem for me. Clam chowder, clams on the half shell, and stuffed clams all lessen the bite of winter just a little bit.

But my favorite clammy dish of all time? Pasta with clams.


Spaghetti With Clams: A Bit of Backstory

Spaghetti with clams originated in Naples, Italy, as Spaghetti al vongole. Though I haven’t been to Naples, I did eat one of my favorite versions of this dish in Venice.

A few years ago I headed to Italy for a few weeks trip during what ended up being the coldest March the country had seen in decades. 

The Colosseum was covered in snow. The streets flooded my first night in Venice. And my second day in Venice, it snowed.

So I ditched the walking tour I’d signed up for (after leaving the guide a tip of course), bought a pair of heavy rain boots and socks, and ducked into a cozy, dark restaurant and ordered pasta with clams and prosecco on tap. 


Pasta With Clams Ingredients

This recipe is so easy to make, but it’s super impressive. It’s super simple and takes less than 10 minutes throw these 9 ingredients together: 

  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Clams
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • Garlic/shallots
  • White wine (optional but recommended)
  • Parsley (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


Prepping the Clams

The clams are super easy to prep. You don’t need to open them, cut them, or anything. Simply (gently) place them in a bowl and cover them with water.

Let them sit for 15 minutes. This will help them release their sand.

If you’re really worried about sand, you can add a little cornstarch to the water (just sprinkle a little bit over the clams) to help them release even more grit. 

Pasta With Clams

This fancy-a$$ recipe takes just a few minutes to throw together.

1. Heat a heavy pot over low heat; add a tablespoon of olive oil and a handful of chopped garlic and one handful of chopped white onion or shallots.

2. After the garlic is soft, place the clams in the pot and turn the heat up to medium. Add half a cup of white wine and/or lemon juice and red pepper flakes; cover.

3. Wait about 5 or so minutes to check on the clams. Open the lid; if all the clam shells have opened, they’re ready. 

4. Add the cooked spaghetti, and turn the heat down to low. 

Serve with parmesan cheese, more red pepper flakes, parsley, another squirt of lemon, and crust bread. 

“It’s all the same to the clam.” 

– Shel Silverstein

To Dairy or Not to Dairy

If you’re dairy-free, please feel free to use a dairy parm substitute — or leave the dairy out altogether. 

Add Meat (if you please)

If you want to add more salty flavor to this dish, you can go ahead and sautee a few slices of bacon with your garlic and shallots for some added flavor.

Pasta With Clams Recipe

Prep Time: 10 min.

  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Clams
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • Garlic/shallots
  • White wine (optional but recommended)
  • Parsley (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)



1. Dump a bag of rocket lettuce (or however much you want) in a bowl.

2. Drizzle good extra virgin olive oil over the top to coat.

3. Squirt lemon juice over the greens to taste.

4. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top.

5. Grind fresh ground black pepper over the top.

Optional Add-Ons

Spaghetti with clams works well as-is, but you can also add a few ingredients to add a little extra flavor, including:

  • Bacon or pancetta
  • Any salty grated cheese
  • Fresh green herbs
  • Breadcrumbs

Products Mentioned in This Post

julia child

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Sea Salt

Finishing Salt


Zoe Extra Virgin Olive Oil

sheet pans

Sheet Pans


Hey, hay! Guess what, guys? I’m not a nutritionist, nor am I a doctor. Even worse, I’ve never even played one on TV. Please check with your doctor or nutritionist before switching up any diet. Most of my recipes/recommendations include known allergens. If you have an allergy or food insensitivity, please don’t use those ingredients in your cooking.