spaghetti and clams – a laganella family favorite

Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.
Samuel Pepys

Hi there,

When my children were young, family dinners were reserved for Sunday. Between Dom’s schedule as a busy General Practice Doctor and the boys schedule of sports and music, dinner was grab and go during the week.

But on Sundays, we always sat down together. Dom would make an afternoon run to the bakery and buy whatever was left on the shelves and I would try to figure out something that three very different sons could agree upon to eat.

This recipe for spaghetti and clams was one that all agreed upon. I have become a much more accomplished cook than I was back in the seventies. I must confess that back then I made this dish with canned clam sauce touched up with my own seasonings. But now, I make the sauce from scratch and, if I do say so myself, it is very tasty.

Laganella Family Favorite Spaghetti & Clams


  • 1lb container of shucked clams in their liquor
  • 1 tablespoon of EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes (can be eliminated or adjusted to taste)
  • 1 small parmesan rind
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 cup of minced parsley
  • 1 cup of white wine, either pinot Grigio or sauvignon blanc
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Drain the clams and reserve the liquor
  2. In a large shallow pan sauté the onion, garlic, pepper, parsley and parmesan rind until onions are soft
  3. Add the clams and saute until barley cooked
  4. Add reserved clam liquor and wine to the pan
  5. Cook until slightly thickened and flavors have blended approximately 10 to 15 minutes
  6. While sauce is simmering start a pot of salted water for your spaghetti
  7. Cook spaghetti until al dente
  8. Drain spaghetti and add to the sauce pan and cook for another minute or two
  9. ENJOY!

Special Note: If you are preparing this for company, you can buy some tiny clams and add them to the sauce. When serving put the whole clams on top for a pretty presentation. If your family doesn’t care for hot pepper, just eliminate it. Be careful with the salt in the sauce because you are using a parmesan rind which is salty and inherently not Italian in nature. Most Italians cookbooks ban the use of cheese with seafood. But I think everything tastes better with cheese.

Talk soon, ❤️💕 Bernadette

29 responses to “spaghetti and clams – a laganella family favorite”

      • I am sorry. I post on a site i do not own. It’s like a club. I am busy right now, but if you want to comment i can make you a member. 😀

  1. Aww you are making me craving for clam pasta! My husband don’t like clams so I’m taking a note as wishlist for my eat-alone-party-dinner!

  2. I smiled when I read about your 3 boys having different tastes, as a mom of 3 also I can certainly relate! My 3 would always eat buttered noodles with Parmesan, so your sweet story brought back lots of memories 🙂 Your dish sounds delicious!

  3. This sounds delicious! I have put clams on pizza, and your recipe makes me crave them on pasta! I love the vintage picture of Dom and your boys…so sweet!

  4. I love clams and I love pasta, what a great combination. I remember those days when we raised children. I only had one boy.

  5. Your comment about the cheese made me smile. When we were in Italy with friends at a restaurant, our friend asked for Parmesan cheese for his clam sauce and the waiter refused to serve him any…”no cheese with seafood” he told him.

Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. If you like this recipe, please give it to your friends.

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