Spaghetti with White Clam Sauce for One


There’s something about catching your own food that is so rewarding.  That was the task at hand for me on a recent Wednesday evening where I had a bowl of fresh clams in the fridge from the previous Sunday when I was out on the Great South Bay with my family.  We go clamming pretty often so I frequently give clams away to friends, or make different recipes in order to use the clams before they go bad.  Since the clams were in the fridge and not steamed and frozen for future use, I knew that I had to get a good recipe on the stove that exact night or forfeit our bounty.

Now, I’ve made baked clams, clams casino, plain steamed clams with butter, and I’ve shucked and eaten them raw.  The two recipes left on my “Clam Cooking 101” list are a good clam chowder, and a clam sauce over pasta.  I decided to tackle the clam sauce and was extremely surprised and happy with how simple this recipe came out to be!

As a base-recipe, I used this one from the Food Network by Chef Anne Burrell.  It was a bit confusing at first because I realized she was cooking FIVE DOZEN clams whereas I was cooking for one person and decided to go with a dozen clams.  While I chopped down the amount of clams by 1/5, I simply halved the rest of the recipe to ensure there was ample sauce and flavor.  Here is how I made this dish for one:


One dozen little neck clams

Four cloves of garlic

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup water

1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 pound thin spaghetti or angel hair

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon parsley

1 tablespoon oregano

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Parmesan cheese for topping


1 – Clean the clams!  I like to leave them in water for a day and let them flush out their systems themselves, and then scrub the shells clean.

2 – Start the boiling process of your salted water in a large pot.

3 – Coat the bottom of a large frying pan with EVOO and half of the garlic cloves.  Saute the garlic on medium heat until the garlic is fully browned.  One thing I learned from Anne Burrell in this recipe is that once the garlic turns brown, you have to scoop it out with a slotted spoon and discard it because it has, “fulfilled its garlic destiny.” (LoL)

4 – Add the water, wine, and clams to the pan and cover.  Bring them to a boil until the clams open up, about 10 minutes.  When clams are opened, reduce the pan to low heat and use your slotted spoon again to remove the clams from the pan (except for about three for decoration).
5 – Is your water boiling yet?  Time to cook the pasta!
6 – After a few minutes and when the clams have cooled, remove them from the shells (shells can be discarded) and give them a good chopping on a cutting board.  Add them back into the pan with the butter, herbs, and a pinch of crushed red pepper.
7 – When pasta is al-dente or cooked to your liking, strain and then add back to your large pot.
8 – Top the pasta with the clam sauce, but be sure to pour slowly and use your slotted spoon once again to assist the clam pieces out of the pan.  Also, make sure to sacrifice the last bit of sauce by leaving it in the pan to be discarded, as it may have excess sand or dirt in it from the clam shells. Toss the sauce and pasta together until they cling to each other and the pasta is equally coated.
9 – Dish your serving into a bowl and add some parsley, Parmesan cheese, and the few clams that you put aside earlier for garnish.  Serve with a slice of garlic toast if desired.
That’s the easy-peasy white clam sauce recipe that I slapped together in 20 minutes on a weeknight and definitely plan on using again!  Enjoy!

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