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Linguine with Clams

4.95 from 18 votes
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posted: 06/21/23

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Linguine with Clams is an easy dinner than comes together in under 30 minutes. It is fancy enough for guests, but easy enough for a weeknight meal.

overhead photo of linguine with clams in a large skillet, garnished with fresh parsley and two lemon wedges

This recipe is so near and dear to my heart.

My mom used to make me Linguine with Clams for my birthday. Giving me the option to request anything my heart desired, I always always picked her Clam Linguine.

But, I never had the foresight to write the recipe down. So it was lost when I lost her . . . or so I thought!

Recently, my dad sent me a few recipes from my childhood (including this Broccoli Pasta), and a recipe for linguine and clams was in there. My wonderful husband made it for me for my birthday.

It was close, but it wasn’t quite the recipe. But with a few tweaks, we have it. Just as delicious as I always remembered it, and I think you are going to love it too.

Reader Review

Hi Lisa, this is “the” best white clam sauce I’ve ever had in my life, restaurant or internet recipe and sooooo glad that i saw your recipe and is my “go to” one. Thanks so much!

How to Make Linguine with Clams

This recipe comes together so simply. This is a brief overview, for the full recipe, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Cook the linguine. Read more on this below.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic in oil. While the water is coming to a boil, heat up the oil and then add the onion and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  3. Make the clam sauce. Add in white wine, lemon juice, and 1 cup of reserved liquid from the canned clams. Simmer down for 10 minutes.
  4. Bring it all together. Toss the cooked linguine and clams with the sauce, and enjoy!

Linguine with clam sauce is such a delightfully simple but comforting dish!

side view close up look at a large metal skillet filled with linguine with clam sauce recipe garnished with fresh parsley and two lemon wedges

Cooking Linguine

While making pasta may seem like the easiest thing in the world, there are a few things that make sure it turns out perfectly.

  • Be sure to use enough water. You don’t just want enough water that it covers the dry pasta when you add it. You want there to be enough that the pasta has lots of room to grow as it cooks.
  • Bring the water to a roaring boil before adding the fettuccine. This is true any time you make pasta, you want it to be a raging boil, not just a few bubbles.
  • Salt the water. Italians call for pasta water to taste like the sea. I like to use about a teaspoon of kosher salt when I make pasta.
  • Toss the fettuccine regularly. Fettuccine can get stuck together really easily while cooking. Using cooking tongs to toss it regularly, starting the second you put it in the water, will help with this.
overhead view of a small plate of clam linguine recipe twisted up in a fork, garnished with fresh parsley and with two lemon wedges

Clams for Linguine with Clam Sauce

This recipe calls for canned baby clams for a few reasons:

  • They are more affordable.
  • They are so easy to keep on hand.
  • Canned baby clams do not need to be cooked, so you don’t have to worry about that step when making this recipe.
  • They are just easier to eat.

Making Clam Sauce

A big part of what makes this recipe special is the clam sauce. There are three parts to it: white wine, lemon juice, and clam juice.

We can get the clam juice right from the canned clams. Drain the juice from the cans, until you get 1 cup.

We add the lemon juice, white wine, and clam juice to the sautéed onions and garlic and let it simmer for 10 minutes. It will reduce and become rich, and delicious.

Wine for Linguine with Clam Sauce

This recipe calls for a white wine. I used Pinot Grigio, as mentioned in the recipe card. I like using Pinot Grigio when cooking because it is nice and crisp without being sweet. But a Sauvignon Blanc would work great as well.

It is important to keep in mind, when cooking with wine, that whatever wine you use the flavor will intensify when it cooks. I urge you not to use cooking wine. It doesn’t have the same quality flavor as drinking wine and as you just read, that flavor will intensify as it cooks.

If you don’t keep wine on hand, a great alternative is to buy a four pack of small bottles of wine. That way you won’t be opening a whole bottle just to use a small amount. And you will always have wine on hand for when that Clam Linguine craving hits.

Making this Without Wine

It is important to note that it takes about three hours of simmering for the alcohol in wine to cook off. Being that this is such a quick meal, the alcohol will remain. If you don’t cook with alcohol or are cooking for someone who can’t have wine, you can replace the white wine with additional clam juice. You should have enough with the two cans of clams you have. The taste will be slightly different than the recipe I have here, but it will still be delicious and worth making.

pulled back overhead view of a skillet filled with linguine with clam sauce, garnished with fresh parsley and two lemon wedges

Tips to Keep this Recipe Quick

The way we keep this recipe quick is by multi tasking. Resist the urge to prepare all your ingredients as the first step.

Instead, start your water for your linguine right away. While the water is coming to a boil, chop your onion, mince your garlic, and measure out your other ingredients.

Your linguine will likely be done before it is time to toss it with the sauce. If it sits for too long, it might start to stick together. You can give it a quick rinse with warm water, draining it well, and then add it to the sauce for easy tossing.

Storing

Linguine with clams can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days. To reheat, warm it in a skillet over low heat. You can add more clam juice or seafood broth to keep it from drying out if necessary. As with all leftovers use your best discretion, toss any leftovers that smell or look off.

close up overhead view of a skillet with linguine and clams with a spoon and fork in in the pan, garnished with fresh parsley and two lemon wedges

What to Serve with Linguine and White Clam Sauce

I’m going to be real honest. A quiet house, a fork, and that entire skillet sounds pretty good to me right now. But if I have to be civilized, then we can make some side dishes that will pair well with this.

The recipes below were chosen specifically because of how well their flavors will pair with the fresh taste of this dish, but also because they are gorgeous and great for entertaining.

  • Arugula Salad: This side salad is simple, but the subtle lemon flavor in this will be perfect with the linguine and clam sauce.
  • Bacon Wrapped Asparagus: An easy recipe to throw together, but it will present so well for guests. Or your could go even simpler with Oven Roasted Asparagus.
  • Pea Soup Recipe: This soup is ridiculously simple but would impress guests. It’s also light, so perfect for pairing with a pasta dish.

If you make my Clam Linguine Recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

overhead photo of linguine with clams in a large skillet, garnished with fresh parsley and two lemon wedges
4.95 from 18 votes

Clam Linguine

Serves: 4 servings
(tap # to scale)
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Linguine with Clams is an easy dinner than comes together in under 30 minutes. It is fancy enough for guests, but easy enough for a weeknight meal.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound linguine cooked according to package instructions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepepr
  • 1/3 cup white wine I used Pinot Grigio, but any non sweet wine will do
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 13 ounces minced clams (2 6.5 ounce cans) – reserve the juice from the cans
  • fresh parsley minced (for serving)

Instructions

  • Cook the linguine according to package instructions.
  • While the water for the linguine is coming to a boil, chop the onion and garlic, and measure out the other ingredients.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the white wine, lemon juice, and 1 cup of the juice from the clams (not the clams themselves) to the skillet. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  • Add the clams and the cooked linguine to the skillet. Toss to combine and serve with fresh parsley.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
overhead photo of linguine with clams in a large skillet, garnished with fresh parsley and two lemon wedges

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Clam Linguine

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Paula says

    I’ve used alot of different recipes to make white clam sauce this was THE Best by far! I only had angel hair pasta in the pantry and the lightness of the angel hair complimented your wonderful clam sauce. Your mom knew what she was doing when she made it and I’m glad for you that you can recreate a wonderful memory if her.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked it Paula!

  2. Debra Pacini says

    5 stars
    Delicious 😋 simple and easy.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked it!

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