Mario Batali’s Linguine with Clams Recipe

With the massive amount of home cooking I’ve been doing, I really haven’t been out to each much in the last little bit. Even when we have gone out, it’s been for sushi or izakaya food. We hardly ever go out for Italian food here in Vancouver, just because the majority of Italian restaurants are of the all-you-can-eat giant plate variety.

However, there are two Italian restaurants that I do like in Vancouver and a couple of weeks ago Mike and I went to one to celebrate our anniversary. La Buca is a cute, quaint, neighbourhood trattoria that serves family-style Italian food. The pasta isn’t drenched in sauce and the portions are perfectly sized, unlike most other Vancouver restaurants.

We ordered the tasting menu and while everything was extremely delicious (especially the tortellini), I couldn’t help but notice what our neighbours were chowing down on. I’m really bad when I eat at restaurants; I can’t help but check out what everyone else is eating and then immediately covet it.

My wandering eyes were drawn to the giant plate of linguine with clams placed in front of the girl next to us. The platter was piled high with twists and turns of slippery noodles and happy open clams. When the dish was put down, I could smell the sea and garlic. I almost wanted to order my own plate then and there, but I restrained myself.

Instead, I promised myself the next time I made pasta, I’d make a big dish of linguine and clams. Last night I made good on my promise and cooked up a big mess of spaghetti and savory clams.

Mike happens to be a big fan of clam sauce and linguine with clams was actually one of the first meals he ever made me. The recipe he used was Mario Batali’s. The sauce is simply white wine, San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes and clams.

The result is pleasantly spicy, light and simple. The clams turned out perfectly cooked and if there was one thing that I’d change it would be the amount of tomato juice. I thought it was a touch too saucy, but then again, I didn’t really complain while I was using slices of garlic bread to soak up the last little bits of spicy, clam-y sauce.

Mario Batali’s Linguine with Clams adapted from
serves 2

1.5 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
1/2 pound linguine (I used spaghetti)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound clams, scrubbed
1 tablespoonred pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 (14-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes in juice, juice reserved and tomatoes coarsely chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

In large pot over moderately high heat, combine 8 quarts of water to boil and salt. Bring to boil, then add linguine and cook to 1 minute short of al dente according to package directions (pasta should still be quite firm).
Meanwhile, in large sauté pan over moderately high heat, heat 3 tablespoons extra- olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add garlic and sauté until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add clams and half the red pepper flakes and sauté 1 minute. Add wine, tomatoes and juice, and 1/4 cup parsley and simmer, uncovered, just until clams open, 7 to 8 minutes.
Drain linguine and add to pan. Simmer, tossing occasionally, until linguine is just tender, about 1 minute. Add remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, tossing to coat. Transfer to serving dish and serve immediately.

22 Comments add yours

  1. This is from Bill Buford’s Heat. Try making it with a good copper-die linguine next time.

    Wrong. That’s a totally different recipe. With no tomatoes.

    JJ on August 23rd, 2010 at 12:48 pm
    Rusty Shackleford on August 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm
  2. There are few things more awesome than a great bowl of spaghetti and clams! This looks perfect, simple and exquisite!

  3. Too bad my wife is not a big fan of clams, I’d be trying this out. oh well, more for me! btw, I finally stumbled upon your cards… LOVE THEM!

  4. I am seriously missing the daily updates. Momofukufor2 has a space on my favorites toolbar. THE TOOLBAR!

    Don’t worry, I’m back, I was just on the road!

    steph on August 27th, 2010 at 10:37 am
  5. Love your blog Steph! Now tell us, what’s the other Italian restaurant you like? The curiosity is killing me!

    It’s La Quercia.

    steph on August 27th, 2010 at 10:38 am
  6. I have my own recipie handed down by my dad (without tomatoes) you can even use canned clams if there is no time to shop and it is still a crowd pleaser. It is also known as the Jimmy Hoffa special in my household.


    Hi Janice,

    I’ve been looking for linguine with clams without tomatoes recipe for a while. Do you think you can share your Jimmy Hoffa special.


    Nic Luna on December 23rd, 2011 at 11:11 am
    Janice Anguiano on September 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm
  7. After much searching on the Internet for a good recipe for linguine and clams, I found this site and decided to give this recipe a try. Plus I had half a can of Marzano tomatoes in the frig from another meal I made this week. At first I was worried that the sauce was too runny. But after adding the almost-done pasta in the pan it was fine – the linguine soaked up the excess liquid and it turned out perfect. It was delicious!!! It was spicy, almost too spicy, but so good. After every bite I had a tingly after-bite in my mouth from the red peppers. I may cut down on the red peppers next time, but maybe not. My only change was to add salt and pepper at the end. This is definitely a keeper I will be making this again.

  8. The Marzanos are overrated, and canned clams can be used, along with half their juice, though not as good as proper fresh clams (not stinky fresh). Also, I had good results with the consistency of the sauce when adding the tomato juice as well instead of reserving it. Simply simmer a little higher and a bit longer to thicken it up only slightly and let the linguine do the rest. Be careful though, the whole dish hinges on the doneness of the clams. You can overdo the pasta a bit and no one will complain, but heaven forbid you turn those lovely fresh clams into rubber. A great simple dish, I’d consider adding a half an onion or even a shallot for a touch of sweetness to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

  9. Just made this for dinner – I did follow the recipe, my husband sad “do-over” please!!!!

  10. I was looking for a good recipe, this one looks awesome sorry to say I used can baby clams instead and no tomatoes I like my clam sause white.
    Next time I will use the whole clams but it came out totally awesome.
    Thanks Mario!

  11. Made this last night and it was fabulous !
    I used fresh pasta from Pasta Works in Portland.
    The tomatoes made I nice touch

  12. Thank you for this recipe. It was a hit!

    I added some wild prawns, which completely overcooked while I waited for the clams to open. My mistake.

    I used Muir Glen organic whole peeled tomatoes (better than the heirlooms I bought and IMHO, much better than San Marzano) and a touch of Gotta Luv It’s chipotle lime sauce (adds a little smoky citrus flavor). Will do the same next time.

  13. My daughter & I made this….it was delicious and so easy to make, we all enjoyed it. Doubled the recipe for 5 people….

  14. I grew up eating White Clam Sauce. But I will really give this a try…..Will also use more GARLIC. Being ITALIAN I love my garlic….

  15. This is my go to recipe. I use it with mussels and crusty bread. I’ve made (doubling or tripling with clams, mussels, shrimp and crab). Absolutely has been a company favorite. Always more garlic and red pepper suits my Italian palate. Yummy.

  16. Perfect receipe. Mario knows. Italian food is very simple, made with fresh ingredients, That’s what makes Italian food so good. I know I am Italian and had a grandmother who was magic in the kitchen.
    Not a whole lot of herbs an spices. Italan cuisine is very strict about,this.

    Camille olivieri on September 2, 2013 at 11:46 pm
  17. Delicious, just perfect

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