Recipe: Spaghetti Vongole

Spaghetti vongole is a gloriously simple dish to make. It has very few ingredients and takes very little time, yet is packed with glorious Italian flavours.

Nic Gossage/

Spaghetti vongole, or 'spaghetti with clams' in Italian, is a spectacularly delicious Neapolitan staple that is much simpler to make than you may think. The dish originated in Naples and is still popular throughout the surrounding Campania region and in Rome. Traditionally, there are two ways to prepare spaghetti vongole: with tomatoes (in rosso) and without (in bianco).

While we have nothing against tomatoes (as seen in these 8 tasty tomato recipes), we prefer to let the seafood shine, so the below spaghetti vongole recipe is 'in bianco'. Because this dish consists of so few ingredients, quality and freshness are very important, so be sure to source your clams on the day of cooking and for the white wine, use a decent Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc or blend.

There are some who choose to use linguine instead of spaghetti, but try to avoid this as the latter can be a bit thick, which can result in a stodgy dish.

Spaghetti vongole recipe | House and Leisure
Spaghetti vongole.

Recipe: Spaghetti Vongole


  • Sea salt
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 1t dried chilli flakes
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 300g small clams
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped


Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions, or until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chilli flakes, and cook for 2 minutes or until the garlic just starts to turn golden brown.

Add the white wine and clams. Cook with the lid on for 3-4 minutes or until the clams have opened, discarding any that have not.

Transfer the cooked pasta to the saucepan, add the parsley and a pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid and serve the spaghetti vongole with a drizzle of olive oil on top.

Serves 4
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