Pasta and Clam Sauce

These are a few of my favorite things – pasta, clams, and garlic!  I grew up eating this dish and it’s still very high on my list of quick, delicious, and light meals.  I used a short pasta in this recipe, because the sauce is thin, and more importantly Don likes it better.  If you think you don’t like clams, this dish will definitely change your mind.

Pasta and Clam Sauce

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 6


  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP anchovy paste (or a couple anchovies)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used sake, because that's what I had)
  • 1 lb clams
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 lb pasta, cooked a couple minutes short of "done" and reserve 1 cup of pasta water
  • Bottled clam juice
  • Chicken broth (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsley


  1. Heat a large skillet with butter and oil. Add garlic, anchovy paste, and red pepper flakes. We don't need to talk about anchovy paste again, do we? I hate them too, but you never taste "anchovy" in the final dish.
  2. Cook and stir until garlic is tender, don't let it brown.
  3. Stir in wine, then add clams and oregano. Cook a minute or two and add clam juice or broth. If you're using clams in the shell, cover the pan, and steam them until they just open.
  4. Toss in cooked pasta and about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  5. Add more pasta water, clam juice, or broth as needed to coat everything. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if you like. Taste for salt and pepper.
  6. Drop chopped parsley on top, and it's dinner.