Cookbook:Spaghetti with Clams

Spaghetti with Clams

Above: with tomatoes; Below: without
CategoryItalian recipes
Time30 minutes

Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Equipment | Techniques | Cookbook Disambiguation Pages | Recipes | Cuisine of Italy | Pasta Recipes | Clam recipes

Spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams) originated in Naples and is very popular throughout the surrounding Campania region in addition to Rome. Italians prepare this dish two ways: with tomatoes (in rosso) and without (in bianco).[1]

The below recipe is based on the one found in the recipe book published by La Accademia Italiana della Cucina (The Academy of Italian Cuisine).[2] It differs from the Academy's recipe only in that it includes clam broth and canned clams in addition to the traditional ingredients. For an Americanized version that includes white wine, see the recipe for spaghetti with clams in white wine sauce.




  1. Boil the water in a large pot with a tablespoon of salt.
  2. Add the spaghetti once the water starts boiling. Cook until the pasta is al dente. This should take 7–8 minutes.
  3. Pour olive oil into a large, wide pan so that it barely covers the bottom and heat the oil.
  4. Add the garlic, along with the peperoncino, and sauté until golden brown. This should take about a minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Add the live clams and diced tomatoes.
  6. Put the lid on the pan and cook for about eight minutes. Shake the pan every minute or so to help the clams open. Throw out those that don't.
  7. Drain the spaghetti and put it in the pan with the live clams and tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low.
  8. Add the canned clams and clam broth to the pan.
  9. Season with salt (and pepper, if the peperoncino is not used) to taste and toss until the pasta is well coated with tomatoes and oil. Add another tablespoon of olive oil if you like.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
  11. Serve hot.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • See more information on cooking with live clams on their ingredient page.
  • Resist the urge to add cheese. This recipe is intended as a light summer dish.
  • Omit the tomatoes to make spaghetti alle vongole in bianco.