Linguini and Clams, A Family Favorite

Recipe by Alexandra Burke, special to Edible DC

Photo by Adrien Sala, Unsplash

Photo by Adrien Sala, Unsplash


  • 4 dozen cherrystone clams
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons of minced fresh Italian parsley.
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Linguini or Linguini Fini Pasta
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning to taste (Note: Clam juice is typically salty, so no extra salt is usually necessary.)

Place one to two inches of water at the bottom of a large pot, and heat the water.

Wash the outside of the clams with a brush or new sponge and cold water to remove any sand or sediment on shell, discarding any clams that are cracked open. Place the clams in the large pot. The clams should not go higher than three quarters of the height of the pot otherwise the liquid will steam out of the covered pot. Bring the heated water to boiling, and cover, steaming for about 8-10 minutes, or until the clam shells begin to pop open.

Remove the pot from the heat. Take the meat of the clams out of the shells using cooking tongs and place the clam meat in a separate bowl. Toss the shells and save the clam liquid in the pot.

Take a bowl and place a paper towel in a strainer and hold it over a clean empty bowl. Pour the claim juice through the towel and the strainer to catch any sand or natural debris that has settled into the juice through the steaming process.

After all clam meat has been removed and placed in a bowl, the clams need to be cut up. I prefer to use a food scissor for this step instead of chopping the clams on a cutting board. With this method, the clam pieces remain firm and do not get mushy.  

In a small pot, add one and one half tablespoons of olive oil and heat and add the chopped garlic. Cook the garlic for a few minutes on medium heat so it begins to soften but not brown.

When the garlic is cooked add the clam juice into the pot. Keep the clam juice on medium heat until the broth begins to boil.

Add the chopped parsley and let it cook for a few minutes and then add the chopped clams and remove from the heat.

To a boiling pot of water, add one pound of linguini pasta and cook until the pasta is “al dente.”After the pasta is cooked and drained, put the pasta back in the pot and add some of the clam juice to the pasta to prevent it from sticking.

Take a serving of pasta and add it to bowl. Take a ladle filled with clam juice and clams and pour it over each serving of pasta. Grate some Parmesan cheese over the top of each bowl. All you need is a great loaf of bread, a glass of wine and enjoy!

Photo by Alexandra Burke. She adds the shells back as garnish.

Photo by Alexandra Burke. She adds the shells back as garnish.