Spaghetti with Clams and NOLA Hot Sausage

The crunchy lemon panko on top adds a delightful contrast in texture to al dente spaghetti, spicy sausage, and chewy clams in this classic recipe.

Spaghetti with Clams and NOLA Hot Sausage

Fred Hardy II / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
4 servings

This recipe for Spaghetti with Clams and NOLA Hot Sausage from New Orleans chef Michael Gulotta comes together in a flash once the littleneck clams have been rinsed and cleaned. The clams cook in just about five minutes in a bath of white wine and spicy beef sausage that’s been browned with garlic and gochugaru. Once the clams have all opened, stirring the cooked pasta into the clam and sausage mixture with a little reserved pasta cooking liquid helps the spicy, savory, briny sauce cling to every strand of spaghetti. A final garnish of crunchy lemon panko topping adds a delightful contrast in texture to al dente pasta and chewy clams. This recipe suggests Patton’s hot sausage patties, which have been made in New Orleans for decades and are available online at You can also use fresh Mexican chorizo — with the casings removed and crumbled — instead.


  • 1 gallon cold water

  • 1/2 cup (about 2 3/4 ounces) fine or coarse cornmeal

  • 3 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti

  • 12 ounces Patton’s Hot Beef Patties (about 3 patties) or fresh Mexican chorizo, casings removed, crumbled

  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (3 tablespoons)

  • 1/2 teaspoon gochugaru (optional)

  • 1/4 cup white wine

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • Lemon wedges


  1. Stir together 1 gallon cold water and cornmeal in a large bowl. Stir in clams; let stand, uncovered, at room temperature 1 hour. Drain; rinse clams under cold water, and drain again. Set clams aside.

  2. While clams stand, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium-size nonstick skillet over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium; add panko, and cook, stirring often, until golden brown and toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in lemon zest and salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Set aside.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high. Add spaghetti, and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid in a small heatproof bowl. Transfer pasta to a large rimmed baking sheet; set aside until ready to use

  4. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high. Add sausage, garlic, and gochugaru, if using. Cook, stirring often, until sausage is browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in clams and wine. Reduce heat to medium, and cover. Cook, covered, until clams open, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove and discard any clams that have not opened. Add pasta and 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid to skillet. Cook, stirring vigorously, until sauce is emulsified and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes, adding more cooking water 1/4 cup at a time if needed. Stir in parsley, and season with additional salt to taste. Sprinkle with toasted panko mixture, and top with lemon wedges. Serve immediately.

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