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Garlic Clams With Linguine Recipe

This quick-and-easy Clams with Linguine recipe is a twist on the classic linguine with white clam sauce so popular in Italy. Here the clams benefit from the traditional Mediterranean flavors of garlic,  extra-virgin olive oil and chopped parsley, plus a boost from onions, sun-dried tomatoes, white wine. From start to finish, the dish takes all of 35 minutes to prepare.

This recipe calls for littleneck clams. They are the next size up from the smallest legally harvestable clams known as countnecks. After littlenecks come top necks followed by cherrystones and the largest size eaten in North America are quahogs or chowder clams.

In the Pacific Northwest, littleneck clams are known as Manila clams or Seattle clams and they would be perfect here.

Steaming, as is done in this recipe, is the preferred method of cooking clams. After the directions to this recipe, below, read what chef Lidia Bastianich has to say about authentic linguine with clam sauce.

Makes 4 to 6 servings of Garlic Clams with Linguine.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup clam juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 dozen littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed
  • 1 pound linguine, cooked al dente
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for garnish


  • Heat a large heavy skillet (with a lid) over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Gently sauté 1/2 cup chopped onions and 2 tablespoons chopped garlic until softened.
  • Add 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1/2 cup clam juice, and 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, then add the 2 dozen cleaned and scrubbed littleneck clams. Cover with lid and simmer about 6 to 8 minutes, until clam shells open up. Discard any shells that do not open.
  • Add the 1 pound cooked linguine, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss to completely coat the pasta, and sauté another 2 minutes until pasta is heated through. Plate and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to serve. Crusty bread makes a perfect accompaniment to sop up the juices.

What is Authentic Linguine with White Clam Sauce?     

Chef Lidia Bastianich says, “This is the quintessential Italian pasta dish especially in Naples and Rome … the clams are the smaller ones vongole verace and they are always cooked in their shells. Once they open, the sauce is done. Here in the States, linguine with clam sauce is [often] made with chopped clams, and I guess this adjustment makes sense especially since … in the U.S. the clams [can vary in size from] littlenecks (small to medium) to topnecks (large) to chowders (very large), [so] chopping them makes sense.”

She adds that fresh cockles, a bivalve similar to mussels, can be used in place of littleneck clams to good effect.

By: Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

(Grabbed from: