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When many of us think of Italian sauces for pasta we generally think of the big three: marinara sauce, Alfredo sauce, and vodka sauce. But there are just so many other amazing varieties out there to try (and to make)! Take our favorite red clam sauce. It’s an oily, delicious thing unto itself, and the leftovers are even better than the first pass. Can you believe it? It’s almost the holy grail of cooking. This will be an instant hit for those that like a little seafood on the menu.

You may also be tempted to hurry up this recipe. Don’t. The delicacy of the flavors come from allowing the wine and the clam sauce to simmer into the sauce and blend. If you hurry it, well, it just won’t taste right. Your patience will be rewarded on your first bite, especially if you sprinkle on just a little pepper first. A few variants to this recipe will also work well, including leaving out the wine or adding in little salty delights such as anchovies or capers. As we’ve described it below, this recipe is a great treat for those on a low-sodium diet!

Pasta in Red Clam Sauce


  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 3 cups tomato sauce (plus 1/4 cup water to rinse jar)

  • 2 cans (6.5 oz) chopped clams in juice

  • 1 lb linguine, spaghetti, or any sort of pasta

  • Salt to taste

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil (or Italian parsley)

  • Parmesan, optional


  1. Add the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper to a large saucepan, and turn on the heat to medium.

  2. When the garlic begins to sizzle, and before it starts to brown, add the wine.

  3. Cook until the wine reduces by about half.

  4. Stir in the tomato sauce, clams and juice.

  5. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. Boil the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain, but do not rinse.

  7. Add the spaghetti back to the pot in which it was cooked, then quickly pour over the clam sauce and basil.

  8. Toss with tongs to coat the pasta with the sauce. Cover and let sit for 2 minutes to absorb the flavors.

  9. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Serve hot with Parmesan if desired.

  10. Enjoy!

Adapted from Red Clam Sauce Recipe

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