Spaghetti Alle Vongole In Bianco

This recipe originates from Naples where it is still traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve. Look out for amande or palourde or telline clams for the best flavour and make sure that they’re spanking fresh before buying them.

Found in this book

Just Five Ingredients

BBC Books


Bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil and add a good pinch of salt. Swirl in the spaghetti stir once, and cook for 10-12 minutes or according to the packet instructions until the pasta is al dente.

Wash the clams thoroughly in a bowl under cold running water to get rid of any sand in the shells. Discard any that do not close when sharply tapped.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan with a lid and saute the garlic for 10-20 seconds until sizzling but not coloured. Add the clams, give the pan a good shake and cover with a lid. Cook for a couple of minutes until the shells open and then immediately remove from the heat.

Remove the clams from the pan with a slotted spoon, discarding any that have not opened. Reserve about half of the clams in their shells and take the remainder out of their shells. Return all of the clams to the cooking liquid in the saute pan and add the chilli flakes and parsley.

Drain the spaghetti and then tip into the clam mixture. Stir over a gentle heat for a minute or two so that the past absorbs the broth and flavour of the clams. Season to taste and share among warmed pasta bowls and serve at once.



  • 350g (12oz) spaghetti
  • 1.75kg (4lb) small clams
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • a good pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • salt
  • 150ml (1/4 pint) extra-virgin olive oil