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Linguine with Clam Sauce August 10, 2015

Posted by Bravado Cooking for Men in Classic Italian Dishes, Classic Pasta Dishes.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

Linguine with Clam Sauce

This is one of the all-time favorite pasta dishes. You will find it on well over 50% of the menus in Italian restaurants. In Italy, Venice is probably most famous for this dish. I have this vision sitting in a sidewalk café looking over a canal at sunset, sipping on a cold glass of Gavi di Gavi, watching long-legged beauties walking by and smiling at my wonderful travel companion of 50 years.

Alas, enough day-dreaming. Let’s get to the point. Like Spaghetti Carbonara, this dish is quick to make – you can easily do it in 30 minutes, especially if you use canned clams. I have tried this with fresh clams but it takes longer and the results, while more attractive and romantic looking, don’t taste as good as what you get with canned clams. Go figure.

I don’t like to brag, but this recipe is so good that it will make you go weak in the knees. Women will definitely swoon. Serve with a Sexy Summer Salad and garlic bread and you have a winner. However, there is a tricky part that you must make sure not to screw up.   You do not fully cook the linguine in boiling water and you need to have the sauce and the pasta finish at about the same time. While the pasta is still strongly “al dente”, drain and add to the sauce and let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce so that it absorbs all of the flavors. Here’s how to do it.

Time Required: 30 minutes

Servings: 4-6 (I usually figure that a pound of pasta will feed six people, but I served this dish to four and there was fighting over the last morsels.)


  • 4ea. 6-oz cans of minced clams (if you can only get chopped clams, give them a quick dice – the pieces are sometimes too big to really stick to the pasta)
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups of dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup Reggiano Parmigiano, grated
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4  tsp. Red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 lb. of linguine


  1. Prep all of the ingredients.  Everything happens fairly quickly and you need to be ready.
  2. Start heating the water for the pasta. Make sure that you add a dash of olive oil and about one tbsp. of salt.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, open the cans of clams. Put a strainer or colander over a large bowl and drain the clams, reserving the precious clam juice. We need that for the sauce.
  4. In a large saucepan (a 5-qt. size is perfect), heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions and red pepper for about three minutes until they begin to soften.
  5. Add the garlic, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  6. Add the white wine and the clam sauce. Scape to deglaze if necessary, turn the heat to medium high and let the sauce reduce for five minutes.
  7. The water should be boiling, so add the linguine and cook for five minutes. This should give us partially cooked pasta that is yearning to absorb more liquid.
  8. Return the heat to medium and add the clams, parsley, and butter.  Warm for about 1 minutes while you finish with the pasta.
  9. Drain the pasta and immediately add to the sauce. Stir vigorously and cook for three minutes.
  10. Add the grated Parmesan.  Turn the heat to medium low and continue to stir until the cheese has melted and the linguine has absorbed most of the liquid.
  11. The clams and the sauce always seem to settle to the bottom of the pan.  When serving, keep a spoon handy to put a dollup of the sauce on top.
Finishing the Pasta in the Clam Sauce

                    Finishing the Pasta in the Clam Sauce

The end result is a pasta that is completely infused with the wine and clam sauce and is coated with parsley and clams.


1. nacho - August 11, 2015

Molto Bueno.

2. Robert Keenan - August 11, 2015

This may be easy to make but it tastes as if it took all day. We shared this with you while talking to the boys last winter

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