Here’s a favorite family dish, Linguine and Clam Sauce Recipe, that’s so easy to make. This is a garlic clam sauce that’s creamy from Jack Cheese. Make it with canned clams and or fresh clams. It takes minutes to make and tastes like a gourmet dinner.
This is one of my family’s favorite seafood pasta recipes. I especially love that it’s so delicious and so easy to make. It’s a dish you might order at a fancy Italian restaurant and can make right at home! Make some fresh linguine noodles to elevate this dish even more!
I know that I’ve created a lot of dessert recipes, and now, I’m beginning to put more dinner recipes on the blog. Here’s a list of some of my favorite ones.
Why I Love This Linguine and Clam Sauce Recipe
Simple to Make
If you decide to make this recipe with only canned clams, this recipe only takes a couple of minutes to whip up. It’s a nice dinner when you’re rushed for time but want a homemade meal.
Nothing is as yummy as butter, garlic, clams, and cheese. This recipe differs from most clam linguine because it has a light creamy sauce. The cream is not from milk but rather from Jack Cheese.
This dinner includes canned, fresh Littleneck clams, linguine noodles, butter, olive oil, garlic, and parsley. Most of these ingredients I have on hand for this quick seafood dinner.
Inexpensive to Make
Besides the fresh clams, all the ingredients are pretty inexpensive. Lots of times, I will make this recipe with only canned clams. I like fresh clams when I want to jazz up this dish.
How to Prepare the Clams – Purging
To make this clam linguine, you can use live Littleneck clams from the grocery store. Once you bring the clams home, you can place them in the refrigerator. Place them in a single layer and cover them with a damp cloth. Make sure not to seal them in a plastic container without fresh air. They need to breathe since they are alive.
Here’s a list to prepare clams:
- Check to Make Sure They’re Alive – (They should be closed tight.)
- Wash Clams – (If the clamshells are dirty, scrub the outside and rinse.)
- Place in Salt Water – (4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt. If you have a lot of clams, double the ratio.)
- Place Clams in Salt Water in a Cold Room or Refrigerator Uncovered
- Allow Clams to Soak for an Hour or More
- Before Cooking Clams, Discard Any Clams That Are Floating on Top or Open (If the clam is open, gently touch the shell, and some may close. Keep them if they close.)
- Rinse, Wash, and Drain Clams Before Cooking.
How to Cook Clams
We like to steam our clams before adding them to the linguine. So here are the steps to steam clams.
- Use a large pot and place 1″ to 2″ of water in it.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Place clams in the pot and cover the lid.
- Cook on medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes until they open.
- Some will open quicker than others, so be patient.
- I rinse them in hot water to clean out any extra sand inside and outside the clam.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Canned Clams
- Fresh Clams (optional)
- Olive Oil
- Jack Cheese
- Linguine Noodles
- Chili Flakes (optional)
How To Make Clam Linguine
Step 1 – Soak Fresh Clams
Clean, scrub and rinse clams. Place in salt water and allow them to soak for at least an hour or more. Keep in mind the longer the clams soak, the more likely they will spit out all the sand and grit. After allowing the clams to soak and spit out their sand, rinse and clean them one more time before cooking. Refer to the above instructions on how to purge and soak clams.
Step 2 – Prepare and Cook Clams
Use a large pot and place about 1″ to 2″ water on the bottom. Bring the water to a boil. Place clams on the bottom of the pot and cover, and cook on medium heat until clams open up. Remove cook clams and rinse in hot water to rid the shells of any extra sand. Place clams in a bowl for later use.
Step 3 – Prep Ingredients
I like to chop my parsley and garlic, grate my cheese and drain my canned clams before cooking the noodles and sauce.
Step 4 – Make Sauce
Drain the clams and reserve the clam juice in a glass: heat butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Quickly saute clams and garlic. Stir in clam juice and parsley.
Simmer one minute.
Stir in cheese with a whisk. The sauce will thicken with the cheese. Add cooked clams in shells to the sauce.
Keep sauce on low heat while cooking noodles.
Step 5 – Boil Noodles
Fill a large with about 4-6 quarts of water.
Bring water to a boil. Add about one teaspoon of salt to the boiling water. Add linguine noodles to boiling water and stir noodles.
Boil noodles for about 10 minutes or until they’re al dente.
Drain noodles and place on a plate, and pour sauce over pasta. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and chopped parsley on the noodles.
Linguine and Clam Sauce Recipe
Soaking Fresh Live Clams
- 2½ lbs Littlenecks optional
- 4 cups cold water
- 2 tbsp salt
- ½ lb linguine noodles
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 qt water
- 2 cans clams 6 oz cans
- ¼ cup butter use either salted or unsalted
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 cloves fresh garlic chopped
- 1 cup parsley chopped (either Italian or curly parsley works)
- 1 cup Jack cheese can use less cheese if you prefer
- ½ tsp chili flakes optional
- parmesan cheese
- chopped parsley
Soak Live Clams
- Check to make sure clams are alive – (They should be closed tight.)
- If the clamshells are dirty, scrub the outside and rinse.
- Prepare salt water for soaking clams. Pour 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of salt into a large bowl, but double the ratio if you have a lot of clams.
- Gently place clams in salt water mixture. And store them in a cold room or refrigerator. Allow clams to soak uncovered for an hour or more before cooking them.
- Discard any clams floating or open. (If the clam is open, gently touch the shell; some may close. Keep them if they close.)
- Rinse, wash, and drain clams before cooking.
- Drain the canned clams and reserve the clam juice in a glass.
- Heat butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add clams (canned) and garlic and quickly saute them. Stir in clam juice and parsley.
- Add chili flakes.
- Simmer one minute.
- Stir in cheese with a whisk. The sauce will thicken with the cheese.
- Add cooked clams in shells into the sauce.
- Keep the heat low and warm while cooking noodles.
Boil Noodles – Make While Cooking Sauce or After
- Fill a large pot with about 4-6 quarts of water.
- Bring water to a boil. Add about one teaspoon of salt to the boiling water. Add linguine noodles to boiling water and stir noodles.
- Boil noodles for about 10 minutes or until they're al dente. Drain the noodles and place them on plates. Pour sauce over pasta. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and chopped parsley on the noodles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can I Add to My Pasta Sauce to Make it Better?
- A Squeeze of Lemon
- A Splash of White Wine
- Garnish with Chopped Parsley or Basil
- Garlic Bread
- Rustic Croutons
- Top with Parmesan Shavings
- Chopped Cherry Tomatoes
What Kind of Clams Should I Use for this Recipe?
- Littleneck Clams (I prefer this clam)
- Manilla Clams (We don’t have these in our stores, but they are wonderful clams)
- Cockles (You can use these, but the meat is a bit tough)
Can You Use the Liquid From Canned Clams?
Yes, this recipe uses clam juice as the base of the sauce. The clam juice in the can is edible and works for a clam broth.
What to Eat with Linguine and Clams
- Fresh New York Times No Knead Bread
- Kale Salad
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
- The Best Lemon Sour Cream Pie
Do You Rinse Linguine After Cooking?
I know that for years, I’ve rinsed my noodles. But I guess pasta should never be rinsed if you’re serving it warm. Rinsing the noodles cools pasta, preventing it from absorbing the sauce and spices.
Why I Recommend to Pre-Cook Fresh Clams (Live)
They might still have sand if you didn’t soak your clams long enough in the salt water. And there is nothing quite disturbing as biting down on a bunch of sand while eating your noodles.
Also, when the clams cook, they emit even more saltwater and sand. So, it makes sense not to have those last bits of ocean morsels in your sauce?
When you boil them separately, this process may dislodge things off the surface of the shell. So less sea grime in your sauce.
I love this linguine and clam sauce recipe. It’s my fallback recipe when I can’t decide what to make for dinner. If you don’t add fresh clams to the dinner, it’s a quick and straightforward meal.
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I “love” Linguine and Clam Sauce! You said to use JACK cheese but there are several types (Pepper jack, Colby jack and others. Which one should I be using?
I’m glad you’re interested in making the Linguine and Clam Sauce recipe. I use regular Jack Cheese without the added cheddar or peppers. You can add as much as you like. My mom’s recipe called for more cheese, but I found it too rich. If my version is still too creamy for you, use less. I hope you enjoy the recipe.