Pasta with Clams (Pasta alle Vongole)

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


  • 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


  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