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Linguine and Clams (Linguine alle Vongole)


Linguine and Clams

Linguine and Clams has a long tradition in Italian cooking, largely due to the fresh flavors of clams, garlic, and parsley.   Linguine is a form of pasta that is wider and flatter than spaghetti, but not as wide as noodles like fettucine.   Translating from the Italian it means “little tongues” and originated in Genoa, Italy. It is best combined with seafood, as compared to spaghetti which usually accompanies meat and tomatoes.

I first had Linguine and Clams at the Villa D’ Este restaurant in Los Altos, when I was a child.  The restaurant was originally an old farmhouse and the living room was turned into the main dining area, so while the restaurant was small and intimate, it still had a nice back room for parties of 20.  We usually went there for an early Sunday dinner and most likely had Squab for dinner (another first for me at this restaurant.)  And just before we finished ordering, the waiter would look at my Dad and say, of course the little girl wants her Linguine and Clams, yes?  And of course he would say, yes!  Linguine with Clams, or Linguine alle Vongole, was often served with the clams still in their shells.   While this looks pretty, I am not too fond of digging out the small clams from their shells amidst the linguine – frankly it’s messy.  Also, a lot of recipes call for 2 cans of chopped clams, which I will do if and when I am rushed for time or just don’t have fresh or frozen clams.  For this recipe I use Trader Vic’s Steamer Clams found in the frozen section.   I like it because it already has garlic and butter in the product – I think you will like it too!


1 pound of Linguine

2 Tbl butter

2 Tbl olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Pkg Trader Vic’s Steamer Clams (1 lb box) – Cook according to pkg directions

Italian parsley

Pinch of salt

1 Tbl red pepper flakes

1/2 Lemon

1/2 cup white wine


Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter and add olive oil in a large skillet; add the garlic, lemon juice, white wine, salt and red pepper flakes.   Let it bubble before adding the clams.  You can either use the cooked steamer clams, or use two cans of chopped clams.  Bring it all to a boil.

Add your drained pasta to the frying pan and toss and cook for a few minutes till the sauce coats the pasta.  Spoon into serving bowls or place it all on a platter.

Did you have a Sunday family dinner tradition as a child too?   Let me know.

Serves:  4-6 people

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