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Spaghetti with Clams and Green Beans

This is Australian chef Neil Perry's variation on the Italian classic spaghetti vongole (pasta with clams). He adds green beans to make the dish fresher-tasting, and then finishes it with a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano. As he says, "Serving cheese with seafood is not the norm in Italy, but I just love it here."


slideshow  More Fast Pasta Dishes


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 10 ounces green beans
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 large plum tomatoes (1/2 pound), coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 24 littleneck clams (2 pounds), scrubbed and rinsed
  • 10 large basil leaves, torn
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a plate. Bring the water back to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and clams and bring to a boil. Cover the skillet and simmer until the clams open, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the green beans and basil.
  3. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Return the spaghetti to the pot and add the clam–and–green bean sauce and the reserved pasta cooking water. Toss over moderate heat until the sauce coats the spaghetti, about 1 minute. Transfer the spaghetti and clams to shallow bowls and serve, passing the grated Parmigiano- Reggiano at the table.

Suggested Pairing

"This spaghetti vongole has lots of flavor from the beans and a little bit of heat from the chile," Neil Perry says, "so it's great with Riesling."

Contributed By Photo © Petrina Tinslay Published October 2007

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