Chef John's Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce


This is one of my 'go to' recipes and it takes only about 15 minutes from start to finish. The only prep work really is mashing the garlic. The sauce is great on any pasta, but I prefer angel hair or spaghetti.

Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 2 tablespoons capers

  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 (24 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce

  • ¼ cup water

  • 1 cup good-quality crisp white wine

  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans chopped clams, drained with juice reserved

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 pound dry spaghetti

  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • Chopped fresh basil leaves or parsley


  1. Pour olive oil into cold skillet. Add garlic, capers, anchovy paste, and red pepper flakes. Place over medium heat and cook and stir until the oil is infused with the flavors of the mixture, about 5 minutes, taking care not to brown the garlic. Add tomato sauce and rinse jar with 1/4 cup water; add water to skillet. Pour in wine and juice from clams, reserving the clams. Bring to a simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, 7 to 9 minutes.

  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until almost al dente, or about 1 minute less than directed on package. Drain. Return pasta to the pot off heat.

  3. Stir clams into the sauce. Pour sauce over pasta. Stir; cover the pot to allow it to finish cooking off heat and to allow the pasta will absorb some of the sauce, about 3 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Top with chopped fresh basil and/or parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

852 Calories
17g Fat
117g Carbs
44g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 852
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Sodium 1514mg 66%
Total Carbohydrate 117g 43%
Dietary Fiber 8g 30%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 44g
Vitamin C 25mg 127%
Calcium 231mg 18%
Iron 33mg 184%
Potassium 1442mg 31%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love