A Spicy Perspective

Clam Pasta (Alle Vongole)

This Italian Clam Pasta, known as Pasta Alle Vongole, is a cozy seafood dish easy enough to make any night of the week, but fancy enough for festive occasions!

clam pasta

I’m a sucker for a classic romance. I don’t read a whole lot of current “chic lit” unless it comes highly recommended by a friend. Yet certain novels that were required reading in my high school literature class, have a permanent position on my nightstand.

I equally enjoy sitting down with couple-friends and hearing, or rehearing, the story of how they met. Some people were obviously just meant to be together.

pasta alle vongole

As with people, sometimes things were just meant to be: robe and slippers, popcorn and movies, campfires and marshmallows, eggs and bacon, peanut butter and jelly, the list goes on and on.

Classic combinations are comforting. A perfect pair creates a certain feeling of warmth and momentary bliss that leads to the making of memories. Our memories give the duo longevity, and in some cases, birth a legend.

littleneck clams

Pasta with Clams… A Dynamic Duo.

Clam Pasta is a classic combo that has withheld the test of time. Clam Pasta is a rich, full-bodied dish with bright citrusy undertones. The noodles soak up the essence of the garlic, wine, and delicate clam juices to create a true Italian masterpiece!

Pappardelle Alle Vongole is a legendary marriage of wide pasta and clams bathed in a light silky cream sauce. However, fettuccine or spaghetti with clams is just as lovely!

Clam Pasta is traditionally made with spaghetti, as seen here, but you can use any sort of long pasta you like.

Our Clam Pasta is quick enough for a mid-week family meal, and dressy enough for a dinner party. Get ready to experience love at first bite!

Ingredients for Pasta Vongole

  • Dried long pasta – such as spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine
  • Olive oil
  • Pancetta – chopped
  • Shallots – sliced thin
  • Garlic – minced
  • Fresh clams – well cleaned (Pick small clams like littleneck clams)
  • Fresh rosemary – chopped
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Lemon zest
  • Dry white wine
  • Heavy cream
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Parsley – for garnish
clams with pasta

How to Make Clam Pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. When hot, add the pancetta and shallots. Saute for 1-2 minutes, then add the garlic and rosemary. Saute another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the clams, wine, red pepper, and lemon zest to the skillet. Salt and pepper; then cover. Drop the pasta into the boiling water.
  4. Cook the clams for 7-8 minutes, until they are mostly open. Simmer the pasta for 6-8 minutes until “al dente.”
  5. Add the cream to the clam sauce and stir. Then strain the pasta and add it straight to the clam sauce. (Make sure to reserve a little pasta water.)
  6. Stir the pasta and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss. If the sauce is thicker than desired add a little pasta water. Throw out any clams that didn’t open.

Get the Full (Printable) Vongole Pasta Recipe Below!

clams pasta alle vongole

How Do You Clean Clams Before Using?

Make sure to check and clean the clams well before using them.

The clams should be closed tightly without any cracks in the shells. If you find an open or cracked clam, throw it out!

Clams sometimes have a little grit and sand inside. You can get them to purge the sand by soaking them before cooking.

To clean the clams, place them in a bowl of cold water. Add 3 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of baking powder. Allow the clams to soak for at least 20 minutes. Then drain and rinse them in fresh water. If any of the clams still have debris on the shells, use a clean brush to scrub them off.

clams with spaghetti

Can I Make Pasta Alle Vongole Spicy?

Sure you can! This recipe already has crushed red pepper flakes in it. If you find it need a little more kick, add more, or add in a couple of dashes of hot sauce.

Storing Leftovers

This spaghetti and clams recipe is best served immediately. However, if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

What Do You Serve Alongside Pasta with Clams?

Serve this as a main dish with Caprese Panzanella Salad and fresh crusty bread. Or serve it as a side dish with Florentine Steak!

clams pasta alle vongole
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5 from 11 votes
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Clam Pasta (Alle Vongole)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Easy Italian Clam Pasta Recipe, known as Pasta Alle Vongole, is a fabulous dinner option for any night of the week! Luxurious and cozy.
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces dried long pasta (1 package)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pancetta
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 4-5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh littleneck clams, well cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garnish: chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. When hot, add the pancetta and shallots. Saute for 1-2 minutes, then add the garlic and rosemary. Saute another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the clams, wine, red pepper, and lemon zest to the skillet. Salt and pepper; then cover. Drop the pasta in the boiling water.
  • Cook the clams for 7-8 minutes, until they are mostly open. Cook the pasta for 6-8 minutes until “al dente.”
  • Add the cream to the clam sauce and stir. Then strain the pasta and add it straight to the clam sauce. (Make sure to reserve a little pasta water.)
  • Stir the pasta and cook another 1-2 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss. If the sauce is thicker than desired add a little pasta water. Throw out any clams that didn’t open.

Notes

Pro Tip: Make sure to check and clean the clams well before using.
The clams should be closed tightly without any cracks in the shells. If you find an open or cracked clam, throw it out!
To clean the clams, place them in a bowl of cold water. Add 3 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of baking powder. Allow the clams to soak for at least 20 minutes. Then rinse them in fresh water. If any of the clams still have debris on the shells, use a clean brush to scrub them off.

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups, Calories: 724kcal, Carbohydrates: 91g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 332mg, Potassium: 369mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 500IU, Vitamin C: 2.9mg, Calcium: 140mg, Iron: 2.6mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Sommer Collier

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36 comments on “Clam Pasta (Alle Vongole)”

  1. The clams are then added to the firm pasta (spaghetti, linguine, or vermicelli), along with salt, black pepper (or red pepper), and a handful of finely chopped parsley.

  2. I absolutely love the way you write!

  3. Been planning to make this for a while and finally did. Hubs and I just DEVOURED it ALL! This perfectly balanced sauce (creamy, garlicky, spicy, zingy) delights, though I replaced the rosemary with some Italian parsley I had on hand. Definitely a winner!

  4. Pingback: 11 Super Bowl Food & Drink Ideas That Only Patriots Fans Will Appreciate - Bustle - W Contest

  5. On holiday chez mes parents in La douce France there is the perfect source for the most beautiful fresh and delicious ingrediënts for a reasonable price.
    Pasta alla vongole was my fav. dinner during our holidays in Italy 2 yrs ago. Last night was the first time I tried to make it myself! :) It was a big hit! :)
    With your recipe and a twist of my own I surprised my parents with a meal they liked so much that the pan was clean after we finished!!!
    Thanksss!!!!! It was perfect!

    ((Only comment I have is that the site is a bit hard to handle from a mobile phone, skipping and jumping to places I didnt point at..))

  6. This dish looks absolutely phenomenal, Sommer! I’m craving this so much now! xo

  7. Wow this looks so good! My tummy is growling!

  8. Hi! I was scouring the web looking for something to make tonight and I came across this. 
    Just wanted to say…WOW! It was amazing. I ended up using canned clams because it was all I had, and I added peas. 
    My 13 month old was trying to smash all of it in his mouth at once he loved it so much. Will definitely make this one again–I bet using the fresh clams would be even better. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Like so many others, I can't help but say how beautiful your photos are! I can't wait to give this a shot.

    • Great dish.  Depending on the type of pasta (I used linguine) the pasta should be cooked longer prior to adding it back into the pan.  I did add some additional baby clams because i just love clams.  Will definitely make it again

  10. I can say only one thing: yummm….I love vongole and all those shells. Especially with good pasta!

  11. amazing dish. My favorite pasta for sure, but the shallots and clams are a total bonus. I need a big bowl of this as well as a nice slice of the cake below.

  12. That sizzling hot mess in the pan is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat!

    Your pics are always stunning and your stories worth the time it takes to read them! The recipes are great and that's pretty much a given :) Pasta and clams WERE made for each other. Congratulations on netting a great guy!

    Another great post – thanks!

  13. Gorgeous – well done!

  14. Congrats on your Top 9 status today which brought me to your website for the first time. Great photos/writing will bring me back. You've got a new reader!

  15. I love the close up picture of the pasta and the mussel. It really caught my eye!

  16. Wow, I am so hungry right now. This is beautiful. Also, I love pappardelle too so I totally get pairing it with clams! I'm so buying some clams next time I go past the fishmonger's…

    Jax x

  17. I loved this blog post! Linquine and clams are just such a perfect combination (that first picture is out of this world!)

  18. This looks delish and your photographs are beautiful!

  19. I agree… totally meant to be! I love, love, love that first photo. And I love, love, love classic romance. I still have required reading ovels on my nightstand too – they are comforting. Just like pasta and clams.

  20. lovely post, love the first shot and the clams oh my they look stunning

    sweetlife

  21. what great snaps and wonderful story. Those clams look absolutely luscious and the pasta to die for.

  22. Dear Sommer – What a great title and opening pic! It told the story right at the onset.

    Love the food couples :)

    You have made this beautiful classic and plated it for us in such a stunning and creative way. Just lovely ;)

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  23. What a terrific post. Your photos and recipe are really wonderful. This is my first visit to your blog. I had planned only to say hello and then move on. Instead I began to read your prior and stayed far longer than I had intended. I love your recipes and your blog is most welcoming. I hope to visit often. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  24. I couldn't agree with your more about destiny, your post was a lovely read! :) And the food… oh wow. The photos are beautiful, I especially like your intro photo, and the clams sound amazing. I have had mussels with pasta many times but clams seem like a perfect pairing as well!

  25. What a beautiful post! I love romance (and pasta!) :)

  26. Wonderful interesting post. Your pasta dish looks great.

    Cheers!

  27. Thank you! thank you! This sounds fabulous – I'm not sure when I fell in love with spaghetti with clams, but I know Bri and I found this amazing little restaurant in Sorento on vacation and I ordered it every night we were there! I've never had a great recipe, so this is perfect. ( :

  28. Your pictures are ridiculously beautiful. Seriously.

  29. I do believe in destiny and like you I believe my hubby and I were meant to be together , your post made your dish come alive.

  30. Fun to read with amazing pictures. A great take on one of my favourite pasta dishes. Grand!

  31. Absolutely stunning. Great post, great pics, good food. thanks for sharing!

  32. A truly classic pairing. Terrific photography as always. I just might run out and get some clams this week.

  33. Such a sweet post, I do believe in destiny too somehow, why we make certain choices rather than other has a reason…As for the papardelle, they're simply gorgeous, the photos are so alive, it's incredible, I feel like licking my screen! Beautiful recipe!

  34. I could just eat a clam out of the picture it looks so good.
    This is truly a perfect match meal.