Spaghetti with boozy clams and garlic.


I got terribly excited (sad but true!) to find the fishmonger had fresh clams last week.  My mother makes clams in a “to die-for” wine and garlic jus, so I rang her for the recipe.  It was surprisingly easy  to make and I relished every mouthful especially as I thought it would be months before I came across live clams again. But I was wrong. The fishmonger had had such a great response to the clams the previous week that he’d got in some more-the only problem was that I was a little late as he had  practically sold out! Whilst mulling over how I would cook my smallish portion, I remembered one of my favourite Italian dishes-spaghetti alle vongole. So using my Mum’s heavenly wine and garlic recipe, I had a go at making it with spaghetti. It was incredibly quick to prepare but tasted divine; perfect for a Saturday night dinner for two with a good bottle of chilled Pinot Grigio.

Clams and spaghetti


Spaghetti with boozy clams and garlic

Prep to Plate:  Prep: 20 mins (+1-2 hours soaking)  Cooking time: 10 mins

Difficulty: Difficulty level 1

(If you prefer more visual instructions, click on Meals in Minutes for a pic by pic guide to cooking this dish.For more info on buying and cooking clams, click here.)

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 500g live clams
  • 120 g of spaghetti
  • 1-2 glasses  white wine
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt

Equipment tip: The best pan for this recipe is a heavy bottomed one with a lid.


  1. Clams should preferably be bought live and cooked on day of purchase (or by next day kept in the coldest part of refrigerator). Discard any with broken shells. Soak clams in a bowl of cold salted water for about an hour. Then rinse with plenty of water especially if they are sandy. Rinse a couple more times to make sure all grit removed.
  2. Chop garlic into thick slices to prevent them from burning when cooking.
  3. Cook spaghetti “al dente” and rinse in cold salted water to stop it cooking any further. Sieve and set to one side in a fresh bowl.
  4. Heat oil in pan and add garlic, frying for about a minute to soften.
  5. Add clams and stir to mix evenly with garlic. Cook for  a further minute then cover pan completely to allow clams to steam in their own juices for about another minute or so.
  6. Shake pan gently to make sure all clams have opened. Discard any that are still closed. (Never eat clams that do not open on cooking as they are harmful)
  7. Add wine and cook for further minute to cook out alcohol.
  8. Add fresh lemon juice and parsley and continue cooking for a further minute.
  9. Toss in cooked pasta and stir quickly to distribute flavours
  10. Serve immediately.  Enjoy with a glass of cold white wine 🙂

Did you know that this divine tasting food is also good for you?  Clams are a terrific source of protein, calcium and iodine.  Iodine is an important mineral that contributes to the production of hormones which help regulate your thyroid, which in turn controls your metabolism. Clams, prawns and mussels all contain very high levels of iodine so what more delicious way to boost your intake than by eating this delicious, low-calorie food?

fresh clams

© (Suzette McDaniel Don’t Burn The Onions) Unauthorized use and /or duplication of this material without express written consent from this blog’s author/and or owner is strictly prohibited.


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