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Linguine with Red Clam Sauce

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce

My kids love fresh clams so I picked some up from the grocery store and decided to make linguine with clams. I wanted to make the dinner light and healthy so I made a spicy red sauce instead of a butter sauce. It was a very simple recipe to make and tasted fantastic. The sauce wasn’t too spicy for the kids and they gobbled it up. The leftovers the next day were delicious and very flavorful too.

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce:


  • 4 oz of pancetta, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 28 oz can of whole or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, chopped (divided)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (divided)
  • 10 oz linguine, cooked per instructions
  • 1 lb fresh clams, cleaned

How to Make Linguine with Red Clam Sauce

Cook the pancetta in a Dutch oven over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until browned, remove from the Dutch oven to a paper towel.

If there isn’t enough oil in the Dutch oven from the pancetta, add olive oil. Add the onion and cook stirring frequently, until soft and tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the seasonings and minced garlic, stirring constantly for 1 minute.

Add the crushed tomatoes or the juice from the whole tomatoes. Place the immersion blender into the can and crush the whole tomatoes before adding them to the Dutch oven. Add half the basil and parsley then stir. Taste and re-season if needed. If you like a sweeter sauce, add a bit of white sugar, to taste. Let the sauce simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Go through your fresh clams, if any of them are open, tap them lightly on the counter, and if they don’t close shut, the clams are dead – DON’T EAT THEM. Scrub the clams lightly in cold water. Keep the clams in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cook the pasta per instructions. While the pasta is cooking, add the fresh clams to the sauce by the handful and simmer for 4-6 minutes (don’t dump the bowl of clams into the sauce because there could be sand in the bottom of the bowl). If there are any clams that did not open, throw them out. Toss the cooked linguine with the sauce and clams until evenly coated. Top with the remaining basil and parsley and serve. Enjoy.

Linguine with Red Clam Sauce


Click here for a printable version of this recipe – For the Love of Cooking.net



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  1. Hello goodness! This looks so good and super easy to make, but i'm a scaredy cat when it comes to cooking with fresh clams! One day.

  2. I adore linguine and clams but have not veered from the Batali white sauce with pancetta recipe… on the other hand, a spicy red sauce might just bring Steve over to the dark side, i.e., enjoying clams in his pasta. I shall ponder your version for future husband convincing. 😉

  3. I'm impressed your kids like seafood, too. 🙂 That's great!!!! I'm craving for linguine all of the sudden. hehehe…

  4. I've never had linguini with red clam sauce, and I'm another who's a little leery of fresh clams. You might just change my mind with this! It looks wonderful.

  5. When I read the title, I thought, what are red clams? Lol. I didn't realize till I saw the pic that it was a marinara. Love this (always order it at this particular restaurant) – much better (and healthier) than white in my opinion!

  6. You got me hungry, very hungry. Have not bought clams for a long time now. This pasta dish is tempting me.

  7. Wow. I made this last night and I left out the fennel seed and used dried basil and parsely and it was the BEST meal I've had in weeks!
    BTW, I'm a long time stalker of your blog and first time commenter. I couldn't not comment on this wonderfully delicious recipe!