Linguine with Red Clam Sauce

Preparation info

  • Makes


    Main-Course Servings
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Get in There and Cook: A Master Class for the Starter Chef

Get in There and Cook

By Richard Sax

Published 1997

  • About

If you can find Manila clams or the tiny clams called cockles (with meat the size of your smallest fingernail), use them here. They steam to tender perfection very quickly in the tomato sauce. As per Italian tradition, no grated cheese is used with seafood pasta sauces. With a salad, good bread, and a glass of red or white wine (your preference), this is a wonderful way to celebrate making it through the middle of the week.


  • Salt, to taste
  • cups Basic Chunky Tomato Sauce
  • ½ pound dried linguine
  • 2 to 2½ dozen small clams, such as Manila, littlenecks, or cockles, rinsed well under cold running water (Shellfish Basics)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper


    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add a little salt.
    2. Meanwhile, place the tomato sauce in a nonreactive wide deep skillet or casserole. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.
    3. When the water is boiling, add the linguine.
    4. After a couple of minutes, scatter the clams in an even layer over the boiling tomato sauce. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady but not violent boil; cover tightly. Steam the clams just until their shells open, no longer, about 5 minutes. (Tiny cockles can take as little as 3½ minutes, littlenecks usually 7 or 8 minutes. Timing can vary; don’t overcook.) As soon as the clams open (discard any that don’t), turn off the heat and sprinkle with the parsley and pepper to taste (you shouldn’t need any salt). Leave the lid ajar.
    5. When the linguine is slightly undercooked, drain well. Add the pasta to the sauce in the pan over low heat and toss with 2 large spoons, turning the pasta over to coat it with the sauce. Then transfer to serving bowls. Serve at once, bringing an extra bowl to the table for the empty shells.