Linguine with Red Clam Sauce


Pasta tossed with plenty of chopped clams, garlic, and tomato sauce is an iconic Italian-American dish. Here, a few simple touches enhance that homestyle taste: A dose of anchovies boost the savory taste of the clams, herby vermouth stands in for dry white wine (although you could use either), and a touch of butter tossed in at the end unites the pasta and sauce in a truly magical way.Plus: More Pasta Recipes and Tips

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1 tablespoon anchovy oil, plus 5 anchovy fillets, finely chopped (from a 2-ounce can), divided

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1/2 cup bottled clam juice

  • 1/3 cup vermouth or dry white wine

  • 1 pound littleneck clams, scrubbed

  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3/4 pound linguine

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high.

  2. While water is heating, warm anchovy oil and olive oil in large saucepan over medium. Add sliced garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add anchovies and crushed red pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until warmed through, about 30 seconds. Add clam juice and vermouth and increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil.

  3. Add clams, tossing to coat in sauce, and cook, covered, until clams start to open, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer clams to a large bowl, reserving mixture in pan. (Discard any clams that do not open.) Once cool enough to handle, remove meat from half of clams, and chop; set aside chopped clam meat and remaining clams in shells. Discard empty shells.

  4. Crush tomatoes with hands in a medium bowl, and add with juices to mixture in pan. Add salt and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and saucy, about 15 minutes. NOTE: About 5 minutes into cooking tomato sauce, add linguine to boiling water. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.

  5. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water; drain linguine. Add linguine to tomato sauce and toss to coat. Add reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, gently tossing until desired consistency is reached. Add clams, chopped clam meat, butter, and parsley to pasta mixture, and gently toss until butter is melted and pasta is evenly coated. Serve immediately.


Test-Kitchen Tip Chopped clams are good, but often the liquid they come in tastes of little more than salt. That's why we recommend draining the chopped clams and using bottled clam juice for the liquid in this dish.

Suggested Pairing

A chilled bottle of Rosé, such as one from Provence in southern France or a dry California version, will be perfect with the saltiness of the clams and broth and the acidity of the tomato sauce. Avoid sweeter White Zinfandels.

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