Spaghetti with Red Clam Sauce


We call this column 2 Fish, 3 Fish because nutritionists recommend that you eat eat 2-3 servings of fish or seafood a week (it’s good for your brain!). This recipe is a traditional Italian Christmas-Eve dish — some Italian Americans call that meal “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” — but you can make it anytime, because it’s actually really easy.

kitchen gear

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife or garlic press (adult needed)
  • Large pot
  • Measuring cup
  • Large skillet
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Can opener
  • Ladle
  • Colander or strainer
  • Tongs
  • Pot holders



  • 1 pound dried spaghetti or linguine
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced or minced
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6-ounce) can chopped clams, including the liquid
  • 1⁄2 cup reserved pasta-cooking water
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • grated parmesan cheese



  • Put the pot on the stove and add 8 cups of water and the salt. Turn the heat to high and bring it to a boil. 
  • Put the skillet on the stove and turn the heat to low. When the skillet is hot, carefully add the oil. Add the garlic and pepper flakes, if you like, and cook until it is golden, about 2 minutes. 
  • Add the tomatoes and clams to the skillet and simmer gently while you cook the pasta. 
  • Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and, when the water returns to a boil, lower the heat to medium. 
  • When the pasta is almost done, use a ladle to scoop out 1/2 cup of cooking water from the pot and add it to the pan of sauce. 
  • Drain the spaghetti by pouring it into the colander. 
  • Put the spaghetti in the skillet with the sauce. Using the tongs, mix the pasta with the sauce. 
  • Add the parsley and mix well. 
  • Serve right away, sprinkled with the cheese, if you like. 



Al dente is Italian for “to the tooth” — an expression for pasta that is cooked only until it is still a little firm when you bite it. You can cook it as much or as little as you like — just remember that it will continue to soften a bit from the leftover heat, even after you drain it. 

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