Little Neck Clams in Wine and Garlic Broth

If you love seafood dishes then you'll love little neck clams steamed in a white wine and garlic broth. Tender little clams cooked in minutes in a delicious broth can be served alone or with your favorite linguine or spaghetti is sure to be a hit this Christmas Eve!

Every year on Christmas Eve we make seven different seafood dishes, known as the Feast of Seven Fishes. Our Seafood Salad is always served first, followed by spaghetti with clams as the second course.

Clams made in a wine and garlic broth is literally SO easy to make. Only 10 minutes to make using 6 simple ingredients- little neck clams, olive oil, garlic, white wine, crushed red pepper and fresh parsley.

In our house, this dish is called "Spaghetti alle Vongole," dating back to when my mother hosted our family's Christmas Eve celebration. Now the tradition continues in my house.

Clams are not expensive to buy these days. They cost around $3.00 to $4.00 per dozen.

These are the little neck clams I found at Whole Foods. They need to stay on ice and in an open bag to allow them to breathe; until you are ready to cook them.

It's cheaper to make this seafood dish at home rather than ordering at the restaurant. Spaghetti with clams in a restaurant normally costs anywhere from $22.00 to $32.00 dollars per dish. (Yikes!)

Like many traditional seafood dishes, clams alone or with spaghetti was very popular because clams were found to be in abundance along the Italian coast. And therefore, "vongole" or clams became a staple dish in Italy throughout the year not just limited to Christmas Eve.

Once you make this seafood dish, you'll be amazed at its ease. The next time you make it, you won't even have to refer to the recipe. While the clams are simmering in the garlic and wine broth, they will begin to open, releasing their natural juices.

All together, the flavors of wine, garlic and natural clam juices make this dish so sensational!

Don't forget the crushed red pepper! The smallest ingredient will always give any dish a pop!

Also remember, for those who prefer no spaghetti, serve these clams with a green salad on the side and a basket of crusty bread to dip into the broth- the Italian way!

It's truly an all star seafood dish for dinner. You'll have to try it!

Buon Appetite!

Little Neck Clams in Wine and Garlic Broth
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves- diced 
  • 3 dozen little neck clams
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup of white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped Italian parsley
  • Optional: 1 pound linguine pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste 

1. In a large bowl, rinse the clams under cold running water and gently rub them together with your hands to allow any sand to rinse off their shells. Rinse and drain a few times.  Leave them in cold water until ready to cook them.

2. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil over low heat and add the garlic. Saute the garlic for only 1 minute (no need to brown the garlic).

3. Meanwhile, drain the clams into a colander and quickly transfer them directly to the pot with the garlic and olive oil.  Add in the crushed red pepper and salt.  Cover.  Stir the clams after a minute.

4. Allow the clams to steam and simmer with the garlic for about 2 minutes. Pour in white wine and cover again, continue to steam the clams, stir occasionally, about 2 to 3 minutes. Their shells will open gradually.  Once all clams are fully opened, turn off the heat. No need to over cook them.

5. Toss in fresh chopped parsley.  If serving alone, transfer clams along with broth to a large serving bowl and serve.

Cooks Notes: If you are planning to make clams for a large crowd, you will need to buy more clams, and may want to add in some clam juice (about 4 ounces) to make more broth, especially for medium size or large size clams. While cooking, if you encounter any clams not opening, fish them out and discard them.

Also, if you are planning to serve clams with spaghetti or linguine, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add some salt (about 1 tsp.) and toss in the pasta.  Cook the pasta to al-dente.  Using a ladle spoon, grab some of the salted water (about 1/4 cup) from the pasta, add it to the clams.

Drain pasta, and transfer pasta to the pot with all the clams and broth.
Stir and serve into individual serving bowls.  Garnish on top with more clams in shells and sprinkle on top with freshly chopped parsley.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 5

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  1. I'm not a clam fan, but your presentation is so pretty! I just came in to say hello and to peek at a few recipes which is always so inspiring!

  2. It's funny Sandra, I wasn't fond of clams years ago either, especially the large ones- couldn't eat them.
    But I love the little ones, they are so tender - not chewy at all.
    And the flavor of them in this recipe is so amazing - it's difficult to pass up a dish of these little clams. I hope you' ll try them. Have a great day!

  3. This is the kind of recipe I really want to make! I love the wine and garlic pasta combination and the clams look great! Something special for a special time of year!

  4. Thank you! Hope you ll enjoy this recipe! Have a great day!


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