Clam Sauce

Updated 1.6.2020.

I’m not a clam person. Or a mussels person. Or an oysters person, for that matter. I do not go to oyster bars and do not order oysters at restaurants that have oyster bars. Same for mussels. There’s something about having to get the meat out of that hard shell that I find off-putting. (Note: I have no issues digging crab from its shell or taking the shells of shrimp.) So it should be surprising, perhaps, that I love linguine and clam sauce. At least when the clams come out of a can instead of a hard shell!

This sauce is super easy to make and involves mostly items found in your pantry refrigerator. All you have to do is melt some butter and add the other ingredients and then let the sauce simmer and reduce. While the sauce is simmering away on your stovetop, you can boil your pasta and toss it with this yummy and have the entire meal ready in about 20 or 25 minutes.

Enjoy this sauce tossed with your favorite shape of pasta or go with the classic: Linguine. (If anyone can think of another use for this sauce, you’re more than welcome to weigh in on the subject.)



  • 4 T. butter
  • 4 to 8 cloves of garlic minced (depending on how much garlic you enjoy)
  • 1 can chopped clams in their juice
  • 1 can minced clams in their juice*
  • 1 c. white wine**
  • a few pinches of crushed red chili flakes
  • ½ tsp. salt, or to taste


  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and saute for approximately 3 minutes or until you can see flecks of brown beginning to form.
  2. Add the clams in their juices and wine.  Increase the heat  to medium. Add the crushed red chili flakes and salt.
  3. Gently boil until liquid is reduced by at least half, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Cool slightly before tossing with pasta.

I used a teaspoon of salt, which may have been too much. I’m sure the clams are salty enough without added salt. I would recommend using ½ teaspoon, or omit if you’re not big on salt. I love salt — so one teaspoon was fine for me. The crushed red chili flakes give the dish a small amount of heat. Omit if you don’t like spicy food. I love garlic, so I used eight cloves. Use less if you find garlic over-powering.

*You do not need to use a mixture of minced and chopped clams. You can use all minced or all chopped if that’s your preference.

**If you find yourself without white wine, like I did when I was updating this blog, there are several options for substitution that I’ve read about: chicken or vegetable stock, water, apple or grape juice, white wine vinegar, etc. I had an extra 8 ounces of clam juice in my pantry and added that along with two tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Two words for you: restaurant-worthy.

Recipe rating: 


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