Spaghetti with (or without) Clams

I love sharing these kinds of recipes with parents. Doesn’t it look like we cooked up two completely different meals: one for the grown-ups (left) and one for the kids (right)? We didn’t at all. The astute eye will notice that everything you see on the right makes up the meal on the left. It just took a little think-work for Andy to strategically reserve a few pre-approved components from the chopping board before they were tossed into the pot with the steamed deal-breakers, I mean Little Necks.

Spaghetti and Clams
This is so easy and so amazingly delicious. It takes 20 minutes. Twenty minutes!!! If you think your kids will like it without any editing, just pretend the green instructions below don’t exist.

Make spaghetti according to package directions, setting aside plain pasta tossed with olive oil or butter on the kids plates if that’s the way it has to be. In a large stock pot or Dutch Oven set over medium heat, saute 1 chopped shallot, 1 minced garlic clove, a few shakes of red pepper flakes and some freshly ground pepper in olive oil. (Not necessary to salt — the clams are naturally briny.) Add about a dozen and a half fresh clams, a 1/2 cup white wine, and a small bunch of whatever fresh herbs (chopped) you have lying around. (Andy used parsley and basil.) When the clams steam open, add a handful of chopped tomatoes (any shape or color, setting some aside on the kids’ plates if you’d like), some corn off the cob (again, setting some aside) and cook another two or three minutes. Discard any clams that haven’t opened, then toss the whole thing with pasta, making sure to scoop lots of the broth into the bowl. Serve with crusty bread for sopping.

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Love this idea. This is exactly how I cook every night — always trying to find at least a few ingredients in common!


My family loves clams so I’ll definitely be trying this. But I’m wondering if there is any substitution for the wine that I can use? And just in general – what can I do in other recipes to substitute the alcohol? I’ve used juice and/or vinegar before (with varying results), but is there anything that I can more consistently rely on?


I find myself doing this now and then too. There’s something about everything being mixed together that just doesn’t always appeal to my kids, but if I separate their plates, and mix ours all up, we’re all happy. I love that it’s so easy to add a more grown-up ingredient with no hassle.

devon @ lick my spoon

as a kid, my mom used to cook spaghetti like this – first with no clams, but would use the clam juices… then she would sneak in a few clams, chopped up… then a few, shell-less and whole… until I could finally admit (around 7 years old) that I liked sea food!

I love your adult/kid adaptation, thanks for sharing!


I tried this recipe last night and it was AMAZING. It was delicious, easy, and fun. The only thing I did a little different was mix parmesan cheese with the noodles before mixing in the clams. Incredible.