Justin's Linguine alle Vongole

This is a relatively simple but truly beautiful pasta dish, especially when the quality of your shellfish is top-notch. We tried several ways of making this and chose one that produced the thickest, most flavoursome sauce. The key is to sauté the cherry tomatoes until they start to break down, which then becomes the basis for the thicker sauce. We picked up our clams from Furness Fish at Borough Market – they sell wonderfully fresh Palourde clams, which are great for this dish. They’re delicious; have beautiful, marbled shells; and are perfect for steaming.

Serves 4


1kg fresh clams (3-4 handfuls)
3 cloves garlic
400g ripe cherry tomatoes
25g fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
500g linguine
75ml olive oil
1 tsp chilli flakes
200ml white wine
Flaked salt & freshly cracked pepper, to taste


  1. Rinse clams and scrub off any debris. Discard any partially opened ones. Set aside in a colander to drip dry.
  2. Peel and crush the garlic; rinse the tomatoes. Chop the parsley and set aside. In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add salt. Cook the linguine per the instructions on the box, minus 1-2 minutes.
  3. While the water is boiling, set a saute pan or saute casserole over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Turn up the heat to medium. Add the tomatoes and chilli flakes. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes start to break down.
  5. Add the clams, parsley and white wine to the tomatoes. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cover for 3-4 minutes, until clams have opened. Stir occasionally.
  6. Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well. Serve immediately, with bowls for shells. Garnish with parsley.

BK Tips

  • It’s important to prep all the elements before you put the pasta together, as it happens rather quickly.

  • While we love fresh pasta, we prefer dry for this recipe, as it tends to hold on to the sauce better.