Spaghetti with Clams, Mussels, and Tomatoes Recipe

Spaghetti with Clams, Mussels, and Tomatoes Recipe

[Photographs: Deborah Mele]

Notes: In this particular recipe, I used cherry tomatoes to add flavor, but if fresh, ripe tomatoes are unavailable or out of season, you can substitute chopped canned tomatoes, instead. I would use one (14-ounce) can of chopped tomates for a recipe this size.

I prefer a long pasta shape for this type of sauce, like spaghetti, bucatini, stringozzi (an Umbrian square shaped long pasta), or even a fresh egg pasta such as fettuccine or linguine.

Once your clams and mussels are cooked, discard any that remain tightly sealed: they are not safe to eat.

  • Yield:Serves 4 to 6
  • Active time: 25 minutes
  • Total time:25 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound fresh mussels, scrubbed
  • 1 pound small clams, scrubbed
  • 1 pound spaghetti or long pasta of choice (see note)
  • 2 cups halved ripe cherry tomatoes (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. 1.

    In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until lightly smoking. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the clams and mussels, cover, and cook, shaking the pan often until they open. Transfer the shells to a bowl; once cool, remove the meat from the shells, leaving about a quarter of clams and mussels in their shells to garnish the bowls for serving.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it is "al dente." While the pasta is cooking, add the tomatoes and chili flakes to the seafood pot and cook over medium high heat, stirring often until the tomatoes begin to break down, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley. Return the clams and mussels to the pot and keep warm.

  3. 3.

    Drain the pasta, then return it to the pot. Add the seafood sauce and cook for a minute or two over high heat, stirring constantly until it is piping hot. Serve immediately in individual bowls, with the clams and mussels still in their shells on top as a garnish.