Linguine with white clam sauce is an Italian favorite. Al dente linguine is tossed with a homemade, aromatic sauce made from butter, white wine, garlic, and tender clams.
Linguine with White Clam Sauce
Linguine with white clam sauce is one of Granny’s specialties. In fact, this week, one of my sisters asked me to make it and put in on the website. So here it is!
I thought I knew how to make linguine and clam sauce, but it turned out I wasn’t quite making it like Granny. Mine was bland and not very good so I had quit making it for myself.
Since I was staying with mom this week, I asked her to walk me through how to make it. It really is a simple easy recipe, but it packs a lot of flavor when you make it like Granny.
Now I am a huge fan and plan to make it again!
This recipe has been a staple in our family for decades. It is probably Granny’s most requested recipe from the family.
Granny doesn’t cook a lot these days but when I visited her recently, she had everything on hand to make it and was happy to lend her expertise to the project.
Here’s the inspiration for this recipe:
40 years ago, Granny’s older brother and sister opened an Italian restaurant in a small West Virginia town. They operated the restaurant until they retired 10 years later.
In fact, I worked there as a waitress during the summers when I was off from college. This quaint restaurant had raving fans who grieve the closing to this day. I know I do!
Linguine with white clam sauce was a popular dish on the menu. It was especially delicious because my uncle made it one serving at a time. The sauce was cooked fresh for each customer!
I can still picture my uncle standing over the stove every night, making these amazing dishes.
My mom, Granny, based her recipe on the one served at the restaurant but she also made it her own. This recipe is a favorite with Granny’s children and grandchildren. It’s especially good served with some toasted Italian bread to soak up the sauce.
Perhaps the best part of all: this recipe can be made in about 20 minutes and the ingredients are easy to keep on hand!
- 1 pound of linguine
- 6 cans of minced clams
- 1 stick of butter
- 8 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup minced onions
- ½ cup canned mushrooms, drained and chopped
- ½ cup of dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
- 2 Tablespoons of Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt (If the Italian seasoning does NOT have salt in it)
- Parmesan cheese
- Parsley (optional)
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To Prep: Heat water for cooking the pasta.
- Melt butter on a low temperature in a large skillet, either nonstick or stainless. Add the minced garlic and onions and cook slowly, not letting the butter or garlic brown for a few minutes.
- Add the clams with all the clam juice to the pan, chopped mushrooms, white wine, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir and cook on low to medium heat for 10 minutes; simmer, but do not boil.
- Cook the linguini per package directions on box to your desired doneness. I prefer my pasta more al dente, but it’s up to your taste! When the linguini is done, drain, but reserve some of the liquid.
- Add drained linguini to the clam mixture. Toss gently and cover the pasta with the clam mixture.
To Serve: Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese. You can serve on a plate or in bowls.
- If you need additional liquid in the clam mixture to make a little more sauce, add some of the reserved pasta water.
- For a spicy kick, add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.
- Mushrooms are one of those love-it-or-hate-it ingredients, and you can omit them if you don’t care for them. We use them in our recipe, but they are not crucial to the flavor of the dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Difference Between White Clam Sauce and Red Clam Sauce?
White clam sauce, like this recipe, is a flavorful broth-like sauce made from clams, butter or olive oil, garlic, and white wine. By contrast, red clam sauce is a thicker tomato based sauce.
How Long Does White Clam Sauce Last in the Fridge?
Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3-4 days.
Linguine with White Clam Sauce Recipe (Printable Recipe Card)
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Linguine with White Clam Sauce
- 1 large skillet
- 1 Large pot
- 1 colander
- 1 pound linguine pasta
- 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup onion minced
- 6 cans minced clams
- 1/2 cup chopped canned mushrooms
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning (unsalted)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- chopped fresh parsley
- grated parmesan cheese
To Prep: Heat water in a big pot for cooking the linguini.
- Melt butter on a low temperature in a large skillet. Add the minced garlic and onions and cook slowly, not letting the butter or garlic brown - for a few minutes.
- Add the clams with all the juice to the pan. Add the white wine, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and cook on low to medium heat for 10 minutes. Simmer, but do not boil.
- Cook the linguini per directions on box to your desired doneness. When the linguini is done, drain, reserving some of the liquid.
- Add drained linguini to the clam mixture, mixing gently to cover the pasta with the clams and sauce.
- TIP: If you need some additional liquid in the clam mixture, add a little of the reserved pasta water.
- Serve on a plate or in bowls and garnish with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese
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Canned clams ? Really. And cheese w seafood. You’d never find that in Italy and with good reason. Use real clams and loose the cheese and you might find it will taste considerably better. Use really good EVOO and less butter. Always start with the best and freshest ingredients.
Well, this was never meant to mimic what you’d get in Italy. However, it is delicious and a family favorite. Growing up in a rural land-locked area, we didn’t have access to fresh clams. While they might be better, they are not an option for everyone. We are two home cooks sharing recipes that we grew up with. And this version of linguini with white clam sauce is exactly how our namesake Granny made this recipe. Everyone is welcome to make their own version and we love hearing how people adapt these recipes to their own tastes. Sara