Spaghetti with Clam Sauce (alle Vongole)

Italy has such delicious clams that spaghetti with clams is always one of my top choices when we eat out. It’s also something I make at home frequently. It’s easy to prepare and I have a few magic ingredients that make this dish extraordinary. Everyone you serve it to will ask what you do to make your spaghetti alle vongole so amazing!

Spaghetti with Clam Sauce (alle Vongole)

Spaghetti alle vongole

Spaghetti with Clam Sauce (Spaghetti Alle Vongole)

Serves 4-6


  • 1 kilogram Clams (35 ounces)
  • 800 grams Spaghetti (28 ounces)
  • 120 milliliters Olive oil (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon red chili pepper minced
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes quartered
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 60 milliliters Cognac (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons Parsley minced


  1. Clean the clams by placing several hours in cold, salted water.
  2. Start with super fresh clams, preferably local. Fill a sink with cold, heavily salted water, which mimics the clams' natural habitat sea environment. To keep the water really cold add ice cubes. Add the clams and let them clean themselves for an hour. The clams will eliminate any sand or dirt inside their shells.
  3. In the meantime prepare the base for your sauce, using a saucepan large enough to hold the clams.

  4. Sauté the pepper and garlic in the olive oil until sizzling.
  5. Add the tomatoes and cook covered on high for two minutes until they're nice and soft.

  6. Add the anchovy fillets and cognac and cook until the fillets begin to disintegrate, about two minutes.
  7. Use a potato masher to mash and amalgamate the sauce ingredients.
  8. Cook the clams covered on high just until all the shells have opened up. I usually turn them once so that every shell has enough space to open up. This will take just a few minutes.
  9. Remove the clams with a slotted spoon and keep covered.
  10. Strain the rest of the sauce through a fine mesh strainer to remove any additional sand and grit.
  11. In the meantime, cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente, or according to package instructions.
  12. Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water until al dente, or according to package instructions. 

  13. Drain and then toss into the pasta sauce.

  14. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  15. Add the clams, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Recipe Notes

Special Equipment You'll need a fine mesh strainer to remove any additional sand and grit once the sauce is cooked.


5 Responses to Spaghetti with Clam Sauce (alle Vongole)
  1. Anne
    November 6, 2016 | 12:48

    Absolutely delicious. ONE of my all time favourites ??

    • Wendy
      November 6, 2016 | 13:08

      Yes, it’s one of the best! The addition of the anchovies and cognac truly adds a magic touch to this recipe!

  2. Phyllis@Oracibo
    November 7, 2016 | 23:22

    Joe says it looks amazing and want to have some! BTW Wendy…he had a clam/mussel spaghetti with a smoked tomato saffron sauce @ Ditrambo that was amazing…we are still talking about it! The combination was fabulous and that sauce with the saffon…killer!

    • Wendy
      November 10, 2016 | 04:10

      That sounds like a delicious must-try Phyllis!

    • Wendy
      January 15, 2017 | 13:50

      Smoked tomato saffron sauce? Delish!!!

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