This Linguine in Clam Sauce recipe may just be the foxiest meal to emerge almost entirely from your pantry. Done in just under twenty minutes, this is a go-to for Date Night when times are busy.
I'm not sure what it is about linguine in clam sauce that's positively foxy. It is probably because I can make this with ingredients I already have in my pantry.
In fact, the Romano cheese and flat leaf parsley are the only ingredients that don't come from my pantry.
All said and done, this dish takes under 20 minutes to prepare if you make the sauce while the pasta boils. You can see my process in the images below.
Fun fact: you'll see in one of these images that I have a wooden spoon resting on top of the pot of boiling water. I recently learned that doing this helps prevent boil-over!
It doesn't actually completely STOP it, but it gives you time to turn the heat down before you have a gigantic mess on your hands.
Ingredients for Linguine in Clam Sauce
This recipe is not as gorgeous as the restaurant linguine with the clams in their shells—that's about three times as much work.
Plus, I have bad memories of the time when that one clam seemed a little bit off. If you've ever gotten a bit of bad shellfish, you KNOW what I mean.
So, my preference is to stick to my pantry and pull out a can of baby clams in their juice. Note, don't drain the clams: you will use the juice in the sauce.
Not as cheffy, I agree. But it's incredibly simple and lightning fast.
You'll notice that the sauce starts out with ¼ cup of olive oil.
This is a lot more than I usually use: I've steadily reduced the amount of oil I cook with over the last several years.
But keep in mind that olive oil is high in healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce the circulating levels of unhealthy cholesterol.
In fact, Mediterranean diets, which, among other things, are high in monounsaturated fats, have been associated with lower cholesterol and improved cardiovascular health (chronicled here in the gory, science-y detail typical of peer-reviewed scientific journals).
For more user-friendly information, check out the American Heart Association's recommendations on monounsaturated fats.
I love garlic. Phil, even more so. So, any amount of garlic that I would normally put into a dish I double for his sake.
The amount I give in the recipe is closer to my end of the garlicky spectrum. Feel free to increases or reduce to your liking.
Gently heat the minced garlic in the room-temperature oil over medium-low heat while your pasta cooks. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, but not browned at all.
Red Pepper flakes
These are optional: we like a bit of kick in our clam sauce. Add a pinch to your garlic while it heats.
Freshly ground black pepper
You want lots. Add it with the garlic while it heats.
Add the wine when the garlic is ready (crank the heat to medium-high and stir constantly).
The wine reduces for about 2 minutes to cook off any alcohol flavor.
The clam juice makes up the remainder of the sauce: add it right before you add the just-under-al-dente pasta to the skillet. It finishes cooking in the sauce.
Grated Romano (or Parmesan) & Parsley
Topping off your dish with this flavorful cheese and parsely takes it over the top.
Does clam sauce taste fishy?
Phil—pretty much across the board—does not care for seafood or shellfish because he objects to any fishy flavor.
However, he begs me to make this dish. So, you're good.
Serving Linguine in clam sauce
I love to serve this linguine with a nice, crisp white wine like a sauvignon blanc.
Dish up a helping of pasta, top with grated cheese and chopped parsley and you are good to go.
Don't forget about adding a good crusty bread to sop up the amazing garlicky clam sauce!
Leftover Linguine in Clam Sauce is fantastic reheated as-is the next day—but it's SUBLIME when cooked in a frittata.
A quick summary of steps is below:
Set your oven to broil and allow to preheat.
Beat 3 (or more) eggs, salt and pepper then add to a non-stick buttered skillet on medium heat.
Proceed to cook the eggs like you are making scrambled eggs, whisking gently, to not allow the bottom to burn.
When eggs are still a bit runny on top, add your leftover linguine. Spread evenly in the egg mixture.
Make sure you still still see plenty of runny egg through the linguine.
Remove from heat and place skillet underneath the broiler to cook the top part of the egg/linguine mixture.
Remove once the top is cooked and enjoy.
Linguine and Clam Sauce: an ideal vacation meal
When our family goes on vacation, we nearly always choose a condo with a fully equipped kitchen.
To me, it's fun to cook meals in the condo and spend the money we save on activities.
This recipe is ideal because most of the ingredients don't need a refrigerator, you don't need any special equipment, and it's fast.
Here's the meal Phil and I made during our hiking trip in Gatlinburg, TN (we used spaghetti this time):
It's an easy, wonderful departure from usual pantry fare. I hope you love it!
P.S. For more pantry raid meal inspiration, check out Easy Pantry Meals – Living Out of Your Pantry (and refrigerator and freezer)!
- 1 lb linguine
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (you'll want plenty extra for salting the pasta water)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more for serving)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 15 oz canned baby clams with juice
- ¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- ¼ cup flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook according to package directions, but 2 minutes less than directed for al dente (the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce).
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over low heat. Add oil, garlic, and black pepper. Cook together until garlic is fragrant—but not brown at all—and has all but melted into the oil, about 8–10 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high and add wine to the skillet; stir to combine. Reduce for 2 minutes. Add clams with their juice and salt. Reduce heat to medium.
- Drain pasta and add it to the clam sauce. Toss and coat the pasta in the sauce for 2–3 minutes, until pasta has mostly absorbed the sauce. Remove from heat and add the Romano cheese; toss to incorporate. Add parsley and a few additional grinds of black pepper; toss well and serve with additional parsley, black pepper, and Romano cheese to taste.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 536Total Fat: 18gSodium: 800mg
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!
Easy Garlic-Tomato-Basil Pasta: done in under 25 minutes, this pasta finishes cooking right in the light sauce, which is made creamy with the addition of pasta water and Romano cheese.
Frittata: an easy, fancy breakfast that's customizable to whatever ingredients you have on hand.