What would you like to know?
Share this Story

Spaghetti alle vongole: Simple Italian clam pasta with huge flavor

Rowena Dumlao-Giardina resides in Italy, cooking and photographing her family's interesting meals on Apron and Sneakers. After moving to Italy in 1999 from the Philippines, she has traveled extensively around the country and the rest of ...

The classic spaghetti with clams gets updated with hints of lemon and rosé wine

What's so good about spaghetti alle vongole (with clams) is that the flavor of the sea is intense, with mild hints of garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. It is a kind of pasta dish that remains a constant on all Italian tables generation after generation. In my own kitchen, it is a dish the whole family absolutely loves.

Because of its simplicity, it does depend highly on the quality of the ingredients you use. The clams have to be fresh and the olive oil good. And a substantial amount of garlic helps boost the taste.

In this recipe, I gave it a slight makeover by replacing the white wine I normally use with rosé and adding the zest of an organic lemon after it is cooked. The result is still the same as the classic, but with a pleasant aromatic touch that makes it delicate.

The classic spaghetti with clams gets updated with hints of lemon and rosé wine
Image: Rowena Dumlao-Giardina/SheKnows

Spaghetti alle vongole (with clams), lemon zest and rosé wine recipe

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes


  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 chili, deseeded and chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2.2 pounds vongole veraci or clams, purged
  • 8 ounces rosé wine
  • Salt
  • 14 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 organic lemon, zest only
  • Big bunch fresh parsley, coarsely chopped


  1. Over medium-high heat, bring a pot of water to a boil for the spaghetti.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the sauce. In a large saucepan with extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat, sauté the garlic and chili.
  3. When the garlic becomes fragrant and golden, add the vongole (or clams). Toss for about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour in the wine, then turn up the heat to medium-high, letting it evaporate before turning the heat down to low. Cover.
  5. If the water for the pasta is already boiling, add some salt and then the spaghetti. Cook according to the package directions.
  6. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it, but save about a cup of the water you cooked it with.
  7. Transfer the spaghetti to the saucepan with the clams, and toss well over low heat. Add some of the water you saved, if needed. Add the parsley and lemon zest, and then drizzle with a fresh coating of extra-virgin olive oil.
  8. Serve while hot.

More recipes with clams

Red wine risotto with clams
Steamed clams with white wine butter sauce
Spaghetti with seafood ragù

New in Food & Recipes

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!