Spaghetti with Clams

September 7, 2011

Spaghetti alle Vongole or spaghetti with clams is the perfect end-of-summer meal.  This pasta dish is made by steaming fresh clams with garlic and olive oil (a little white wine wouldn't hurt either) and tossed with delicate strands of spaghetti.  A few shavings of parmesan cheese and sprinkling of parsley is all you need to finish this light Italian meal.

Spaghetti with Clams


1 pound thin spaghetti, capellini, or angel hair pasta
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 6-1/2-ounce cans minced clams
freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
In a large pot, boil spaghetti in salted water according to package directions.
In another small pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until the garlic begins to sizzle. Add the clams and juice, and simmer to heat through.
When the pasta is "al dente," drain and return to the large pot.
Add the clam sauce, grated cheese, and black pepper, and serve immediately.

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Daniel T's picture

Not to be too picky, but you would never find cheese in a clam sauce in Italy. It is also curious that your picture is of a dish made with fresh clams, which are not present in your recipe.

Leah Rodrigues's picture

The recipe is written for the majority.  Of course you can use fresh clams if they are available to you.  I prefer to use fresh if I can find them and they are a reasonable price.  As for the cheese, I feel it is all about personal preference.  If you do not like cheese with your seafood, omit it.  Cooking is about pleasing your own taste buds :)

Daniel T's picture

Yes, cooking and eating are a matter of personal preference but there are some items that are either true or not true. For instance, I could choose to simmer chunks of lamb in my "Bouillabaisse" but I would be hard pressed to call it Bouillabaisse thereafter without it being inaccurate. People are welcome to put anything they want to in their clam sauce but once you put cheese in it, it ceases to be real Italian food, even if it is Italian cheese. As chefs, I believe one of our jobs is to educate and elevate the palates of those we are fortunate enough to interact with. When we spread inaccurate information and misrepresent the culinary and cultural heritage of food we are doing the opposite.

Rod's picture

Quit taking yourself so seriously Daniel. Not once is this recipe referred to as authentic Italian. I've tried it with fresh clams and canned clams (and cheese) and it was great both ways. And I'm an exec chef at a Michelin rated restaurant. Lighten up and let others enjoy the simplicity of this recipe.

Daniel T's picture

Rod, congratulations on your successful career. I stand by my comments that the history, heritage, and authenticity of food should be respected. Best of luck to you in the future.

Sheri Wetherell's picture

Authentic is whatever your mamma put in it :)

Rod's picture


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