Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce

This Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce recipe goes way back in my family. I can remember asking for this very meal for special occasions like my birthday or when I had something to celebrate. My mother makes it with small shelled pasta and canned clams. I made a few adjustments and no matter how you slice it, its delicious! A super easy pantry meal that can be thrown together in no time!!

Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce

Mama Rushing’s version of this dish:

  • Small shelled pasta (cooked al dente)
  • 2 tbs butter and couple cloves of garlic (fresh or minced in the jar)
  • 2 cans of clams in juice **save juice**
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Parsley (fresh or frozen)

As the pasta is cooking, she melts the butter, sautés the garlic, adds in the white wine and the juice from the clams. Once that cooks down for a couple of minutes she adds in the clams, parsley, and pours it over the shells! Topped with tons of Parmesan cheese, the shells act like little holders for the sauce and its best eaten with a spoon! I can taste it as I sit here and write to you all!

Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce

Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce

I took that recipe and made it my own by adding a bit of Catherine flair if you will. I waned to cook some fresh clams after seeing them at the store and I happened to have linguini on hand. If you follow me in my kitchen, you will know I cook a lot with what I have on hand. Check out this post that explains how I stock my kitchen and tips for throwing together a pantry meal!

I saw these beautiful clams at the store and I had to have them. Once home, I scrubbed the clams down (no one likes eating grit) and let them soak in water for 20 minutes. After being cleaned and drained, I prepared a little jacuzzi of olive oil, butter, garlic, and white wine for them to cook in!

To Cook Fresh Clams: Use a pot or pan with a tight fitting lid to steam the clams and get them to open. Most, if not all, should open eventually. Some of mine took as much as 8 minutes before giving up the fight. Most of the dead ones will be obvious before you even cook them (they will have opened while still cold) = Toss those out!! Try to coax the closed ones open in the sauce, patience is key.

NOTE: You don’t have to use clams in their shells, but I think they taste best this way, releasing their lovely clam juice into the sauce when their shells pop open! If you want to avoid dealing with shells, you can simply use shelled clams or canned clams only. If you do, be sure to save ALL of their juice to add to the sauce – it is the difference between awesome and disappointing.

The sauce that results is to die for and the clams and the sauce can be eaten straight up with good crusty bread!  You can also use Zucchini noodles instead of pasta to make this a GLUTEN FREE meal!  This dish is weeknight-meal-easy but also lends to an elegance perfect for entertaining by cooking the whole clams with it. If you can get your hands on some fresh clams, this is a simple, classic dish definitely worth trying.

Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce

Thanks Mama for always making this for me… total transparency this is the meal I asked for last time I was home. This Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce its just that good!

If you enjoyed this recipe, I’m sure these others will tickle your fancy:

Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Print

This Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce is a weeknight meal made easy. Whole clams lend to an elegance perfect for entertaining or cooking for two. Sub Zoodles for a Gluten free option!


  • 1 lb. linguine, cooked al dente
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbps Butter (or more if you really love butter!)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 24 littleneck or chowder clams, cleaned
  • 1 can whole (or chopped) clams in juice (use 2-3 cans if not using fresh clams)
  • 2 tbsps fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped
  • kosher salt & black pepper, freshly ground


  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. If using zucchini noodles, boil in salted water for 2/3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan or stockpot with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat. When the fat is hot, add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Pour in the wine and let it cook for 2 minutes. Add the fresh clams and 1 tablespoon of the parsley to the pot. Cover with the lid and cook until the clams open – about 5 minutes. If they don’t all open, keep cooking the clams (covered) for an additional minute until they are all open (the dead ones usually open up before cooking and should be discarded). Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add in the clam juice and clams from can. Spoon the sauce and clams over the cooked pasta and garnish with remaining tablespoon of parsley.
  5. Enjoy with a glass of crisp white wine and there is no shame in slurping up the sauce, its that good!

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Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce
Linguini with White Wine Clam Sauce

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