Spaghetti and Clams alla DiScalfani

Recipe for spaghetti and clams by Karen Lazarus DiScalfani. Inspiration for the recipe was provided by my husband, Robert DiScalfani, without whom, this would not be possible. He shucks the clams and I make the sauce!



  • 3 dozen top neck or 2 dozen cherrystone clams (preferably Long Island clams!)
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic, 6 cloves, thinly sliced
  • Peperoncini, 1/2 tsp or to taste
  • Diced ripe tomatoes, 1/2 cup plus ¼ cup juice from tomato
  • Flat leaf parsley, 1/8 cup chopped
  • Basil chiffonade, 2 Tbsp
  • Spaghetti, 500g / 1.1 lb
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling



  1. Scrub clams in cold water to remove any sand or dirt.
  2. Turn burner on high under your large pot of water to bring to a boil.
  3. While pasta water is heating up, over a bowl, shuck clams reserving both clam meat and juice.
    Once finished, discard all clam shells.
  4. With a slotted spoon, remove clam meat from juice and place in a separate small bowl. Set both bowls aside.
  5. Place a large sauté pan on medium heat and add olive oil.
  6. Quickly add sliced garlic. Sauté for approximately 1 minute, stirring occasionally, then add the peperoncini.
  7. Continue to sauté for another minute until garlic has just begun to acquire a light golden color. (Be careful not to burn the garlic.)
  8. Lower heat; add diced tomatoes and juice from tomato. Cook for approximately 3 minutes.
  9. Add pasta to boiling water. Stir pasta to make sure it doesn’t stick together.
  10. Once pasta is cooking, pour bowl of strained clam juice into sauté pan. Raise heat to medium high. Add ½ of the parsley and basil. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  11. While sauce is simmering, cut reserved clam meat. (A scissor works best.)
  12. Just about 4 minutes before the pasta is done (al dente), add the cut clam meat to the sauté pan and cover. Lower heat to medium low.
  13. Strain pasta in a colander and with a pair of tongs, start to add it to the clam sauce in the sauté pan.(It’s important not to add too much pasta – otherwise your sauce will be completely absorbed.)With tongs, toss pasta in the sauce until it’s thoroughly coated.
  14. Add the remaining parsley and basil. Drizzle a bit of good extra virgin olive oil if you want to.
    Serve immediately!