Spaghetti alle Vongole Recipe

Prep Time Cook Time Serves
15m 15m 4

I first discovered this dish at a beachside restaurant when I was visiting friends in Sardinia. How lucky am I? Only downside is that I have probably now eaten the best possible version of this recipe – incredibly fresh seafood, Italian pasta and on a beach with my feet in the sand. Doesn’t get much better than that.

I spied some nice looking clams (or palourdes, as the French say) at my local market the other day and decided it was time to recreate this dish. Compared to my Sardinian dish, it lacks in ambience (read: beach) but the flavor is delicious.


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 pounds fresh clams, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to package directions. You don’t need to salt the water as there will be saltiness coming from the clams.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons olive oil and once hot, add the shallot and garlic. Fry until fragrant and the shallot is translucent, about 3 minutes. Pour in the white wine and add the clams. Cover with the lid and cook until all the clams have opened up, about 3-5 minutes. Give the pan a good shake halfway through cooking the clams.

Once the clams have opened, take the lid off and turn the heat to low. When the pasta has cooked, use tongs and transfer the pasta directly to the skillet with clams. You want some of the pasta water so don’t drain the pasta. Once all the pasta has been added, toss to combine. If the pasta seems dry, add a ladle of pasta water. Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste and finally, add the chopped parsley. Finish off with a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy immediately.


If you are concerned about the cleanliness of your clams, you can soak them in salted water before using. Simply add some kosher or large salt to a bowl filled with water. Add the clams and let sit for three hours, changing the water every hour. Drain and cook according to recipe instructions.

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