This recipe for linguini with canned clams is my favorite dinner dish that Dave cooks! It tastes unbelievably gourmet, you’d never know it’s made from canned clams. We use boxed linguini, too, so it’s very budget-friendly and so easy to keep most ingredients on hand in the pantry. You’ll just have to remember to grab fresh parsley and heavy whipping cream at the store!
This recipe is one Dave adapted from his mom’s cooking growing up. Dave’s mom says the recipe was given to her in their early years of marriage when visiting friends out of town. Dave’s parents offered to bring dinner to their friends’ home to offset the burden of feeding four adults, but their friends said they had a go-to recipe for serving guests affordably. And that’s when this family recipe was born!
A lot of clam sauce recipes call for white wine, chicken broth, lemon zest, and fresh, minced clams, but this one tastes just as good (if not better!) without all of those ingredients. Just be sure to save the salted water from the clam juice cans because you’ll utilize it later in the cooking process!
For those interested, canned clams are actually a pretty good source of protein without any saturated fat! We buy Snow’s, but I’m sure any brand or cans of minced clams will do.
Linguini with Canned Clams Ingredients
- 26 oz canned clams (We use four 6.5 ounce cans of Snow’s Chopped Clams)
- 1 lb linguine (or whichever pasta noodle you prefer!)
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 2-3 shallots, minced
- 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt & pepper to taste
1. Drain the clams, but keep the juice! Reserve the clam juice from one can for the sauce, and the other three cans for the pasta water.
2. In a large skillet, heat ~1/2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the clams and stir frequently for 3-5 minutes. Season sparingly with salt and pepper.
3. Add about a quarter of the garlic, cook for 60-90 more seconds, then remove the clams and garlic and set aside in a bowl, covered.
4. Time to make the sauce! Add the clam juice from one can to your large skillet over medium-high heat and reduce by half.
5. Add your other half tablespoon of olive oil and reduce heat to medium. Add minced shallots and crushed red pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Add the rest of the garlic, season sparingly with salt and pepper, and cook for 60-90 seconds.
6. Add the heavy whipping cream, increase heat to medium-high, and constantly stir with a whisk until the sauce has thickened. Once the sauce is thick and creamy (10-12 minutes), add the cooked clams with garlic, reduce the heat to low, and continue to stir frequently.
7. Cook linguine per package instructions in a large pot with the rest of the clam juice and 1 tablespoon of salt, stirring occasionally. Once your pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water before straining.
8. Slowly add the reserved pasta water (a few tablespoons at a time!) into the cream sauce, stirring frequently.
9. Drain the pasta, and place it in a large serving bowl.
10. Remove the sauce from the heat and add most of the Parmesan. Stir to incorporate.
11. Pour the sauce over the linguine, mix well, and serve.
12. Top with ground black pepper, Parmesan, and chopped parsley.
Linguini with Clams Recipe Rating + Thoughts
If you get your mise en place set before you start cooking, this linguini with canned clams recipe is pretty easy to make — just a lot of stirring!
It’s our favorite Sunday night dinner to make during the winter! The ultimate comfort food that I always crave when it’s cold outside.
I’d say the recipe serves 4-6. From one pound of dry pasta, we usually have four heaping servings. If you’re serving with a salad or alongside a vegetable, you’ll definitely be able to get more servings.
This makes for FANTASTIC leftovers! Pop the pasta in the microwave the next day for an easy and oh-so-delicious lunch.
If you make this dish, send me a photo on Instagram and let me know your thoughts! Can’t wait to hear what you think of it.