Spaghetti with Clams


Succulent spaghetti in a bracing clam sauce is the heart of a rustic Italian supper to usher in spring.


  • Coarse salt

  • 1 pound spaghetti

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 small dried chile pepper, crumbled, or pinch of red pepper flakes

  • 1 ½ pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus whole leaves for garnish

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt generously. Add spaghetti, and cook until slightly underdone, about 7 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chile pepper; cook until garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add clams and white wine, and raise heat to high. Bring to a boil; cover, and cook, shaking occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, until clams open. Stir in parsley. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.

  3. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add reserved pasta water and lemon juice; reduce until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter. Add clam mixture and spaghetti. Cook over medium-low heat until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; garnish with parsley.

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