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Spaghetti Alle Vongole

Pasta alle vongole - Spaghetti with clam and tomato sauce

I was recently in my mom’s hometown of Sperlonga and made these spaghetti alle vongole with my zia. It’s one of my favorite dishes to eat while I’m there (besides the mozzarelle di bufala of course!), so I wanted to share the recipe with all of you! It’s just too good to NOT make.

What is Spaghetti Alle Vongole?

Quite simply, it’s spaghetti with  fresh clams, a small amount of tomatoes, fresh garlic, parsley and olive oil. That’s it! The recipe is so simple. Another reason to give it a try! It’s a typical dish in Sperlonga, and in many Italian seaside towns, because fresh, local clams are readily available and easy to obtain.
I usually see this dish “in bianco,” meaning without the tomatoes. But my zia makes them this way, it’s kind of her signature way, but if you’d like, you can omit the tomatoes and it would turn out just fine!

Can I only use spaghetti in this dish?

Absolutely not! We used spaghetti alla chitarra, but linguine is also a very popular cut of pasta to use. I wouldn’t recommend using pappardelle or tagliatelle since they’re a little thicker than spaghetti or linguine, and the clams may get lost in the dish.
I’ve only ever seen long pasta used in this dish, but I don’t see why you couldn’t try it with a shorter cut, like penne. There’s no hard and fast rules! 

What type of clams should I use to make spaghetti alle vongole?

When I made this dish in Italy, I made them with small, local Italian clams, similar to striped venus clams. But if you’re making this dish in North America, just try to find the best-quality fresh clams you can find, and preferably on the smaller side. Whatever you do, don’t used canned clams! The flavour just won’t be the same.

How to make spaghetti alle vongole – step by step

In a pot, with 1/2 cup water at the bottom, let the clams cook and open up. (Photo 1)

Once clams have opened, reserve about 1/2 cup of clam water, and remove about half of the clams from their shells. leave the other half in their shells (Photo 2

In a large pan, heat up the olive oil and garlic (Photo 3) In the mean time, cook spaghetti until al dente. 

Add the tomatoes, half of the parsley, salt, and the clam water (Photo 4)

Add the clams and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes. Then add the rest of the parsely (Photo 5)

Add the drained spaghetti to the sauce and mix it around in the pan until most of the sauce is absorbed (Photo 6). Serve, and enjoy! 

Pasta alle vongole - Spaghetti with clam and tomato sauce process step by step

Extra Tips for Making Spaghetti Alle Vongole: 

  • Use the highest quality ingredients you can find, especially the tomatoes and clams. Since this recipe has so few ingredients, high quality ingredients are key. 
  • Don’t forget the clam water (the water that is at the bottom of the pot once the clams have opened). This is what gives the dish a lot of its flavour. 

More Pasta Recipes You Might Enjoy: 

If you’ve tried making this Spaghetti Alle Vongole (Spaghetti with a clam and tomato sauce) or any other recipe on the blog please let me know what you thought of it in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on INSTAGRAMFACEBOOKTWITTER, and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’ve been up to. 

Pasta alle vongole - Spaghetti with clam and tomato sauce

Spaghetti alle vongole - Spaghetti with a clam and tomato sauce

These spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with a clam and tomato sauce) use baby clams, tomatoes, garlic, and parsley to create a fresh and delicate pasta dish. It's a staple dish in coastal Italian towns, since fresh clams have tons of flavour and are readily available. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword clams, pasta, spaghetti, spaghetti alle vongole, spaghetti with clam sauce, spaghetti with clams, vongole
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 7 people
Author Pina

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kilos small baby clams
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 17 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 700 grams spaghetti
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. In a pot, with about 1/2 cup of water at the bottom, add clams. Place the lid on the pot and let the clams cook and open, about 10 minutes. 

  2. In the mean time, cut the tomatoes into quarters and roughly chop the parsley. 

  3. Once the clams are all open, reserve 1/3 cup of the water from the pot, and remove about half the clams from their shells. Leave the rest in their shells. 

  4. In a large pan, heat up the olive oil and garlic. Let them cook until garlic is fragrant. 

  5. In the mean time, boil pasta water, and cook spaghetti until al dente. The pasta should be done cooking by the time that the clam sauce is ready. 

  6. To the garlic, add tomatoes, half of the parsley and salt to the pan. 

  7. Add clams (with shells and without) to the pan, as well as the reserved clam water. Let the sauce simmer so the flavours combine, about 10 minutes. 

  8. Add the rest of the parsley to the sauce, and then add the spaghetti. 

  9. Toss the spaghetti in the tomato/clam sauce until most of the sauce is absorbed, about 2-3 minutes. 

  10. Plate, and enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

  • Use the highest quality ingredients you can find, especially the tomatoes and clams. Since this recipe has so few ingredients, high quality ingredients are key. 
  • Don't forget the clam water (the water that is at the bottom of the pot once the clams have opened). This is what gives the dish a lot of its flavour. 

Spaghetti alle vongole - spaghetti with clam and tomato sauce

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Helen at the Lazy Gastronome
    November 1, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    This looks delicious! I’d be so honored if you shared it at our What’s for Dinner link party. Share as many recipes as you like!
    http://www.lazygastronome.com/whats-for-dinner-sunday-link-up-172/

    Have a wonderful rest of the week!

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