6 ratings

Spaghetti with Creamy Clam Sauce

Pasta with a seafood twist
Spaghetti with Creamy Clam Sauce
Abel Ubrie/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/Food Styling

You can upgrade your pasta game by adding this seafood element. Instead of your usual tomato sauce, this dish calls for a creamy white sauce using minced clams. 

This recipe is by Jeanmarie Brownson and was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.

Ready in
50 m
25 m
(prepare time)
25 m
(cook time)
Calories Per Serving


  • 2 (6.5-ounce) cans minced clams
  • About ½ cup chicken broth or bottled clam juice
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 shallots or 1 small white onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 of a 2-ounce can anchovy fillets packed in oil, patted dry and minced, optional
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Cup dry white vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1 (4-ounce) can fire-roasted diced green chiles, optional
  • 1/4 Cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 Teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
  • 1/4 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/4 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 Ounces spaghetti or linguine
  • 1/2 Cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/3 Cup chopped fresh parsley leaves or 3 tablespoons dried parsley


Step 1: Strain 2 (6.5-ounce) cans of minced clams in a colander set over a bowl to catch their liquid. Measure the liquid and add chicken broth or bottled clam juice to make 1 cup total. Reserve liquid and clams separately.

Step 2: Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Step 3: Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet; add 4-5 thinly sliced shallots. Cook until golden, about 3 minutes.

Step 4: Stir in 1 ounce minced anchovies (if using) and 4 cloves minced garlic; cook, stirring, until anchovies dissolve, about 1 minute.

Step 5: Stir in 1 cup vermouth; boil hard to reduce by half, about 3 minutes.

Step 6: Stir in the reserved broth, can of fire-roasted chiles (if using), 1/4 cup cream and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme; boil hard to reduce slightly, about 4 minutes.

Step 7. Season with pepper flakes and black pepper. Remove from heat.

Step 8: Add the spaghetti to the boiling water. Cook, stirring often until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes.

Step 9: Stir reserved clams into the skillet; heat mixture until hot.

Step 10: Drain the pasta; return it to the pot. Add the clam sauce, 1/2 cup grated Parm and 1/3 cup chopped parsley. Toss to coat pasta with sauce. Serve with extra cheese.