John Hinterberger's Clam Spaghetti

This recipe from John Hinterberger, a beloved food writer for The Seattle Times, is a family favorite and is made from ingredients commonly found in our pantry. With the addition of a salad and nice crusty bread, we have a delicious and satisfying family meal on the table in about an hour.

Clam spaghetti

As with any recipe, using fresh ingredients is preferred but this recipe calls for canned clams. And don't stress out if you don't have some of the ingredients. Fresh basil can be substituted with dried basil; fresh mushrooms can be substituted with canned mushrooms; and if you don't have fresh parsley, you can leave it out.

Clam spaghetti ingredients - basil, mushrooms, onions

clams, pasta
main dishes, pasta
Yield: 6 servings
Author: John Hinterberger (slightly modified)
John Hinterberger's Clam Spaghetti

John Hinterberger's Clam Spaghetti

Serve this pasta family-style, right in its pan.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 45 MinTotal time: 55 Min


  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 dried red chili pepper, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced or mashed
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cans (6½ ounces each) chopped clams, drained with liquid reserved
  • ⅓ pound mushrooms, sliced (can substitute with a small can of mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup black olives, sliced (optional)
  • Pimento, chopped (optional)
  • Grated Romano or Parmesan cheese


  1. Put ½ cup olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet and heat slowly. Add the dried chili pepper, chopped onion and garlic cloves. Cook slowly for about 30 minutes or until the onions are very soft.
  2. Add to pan the basil, oregano, salt and pepper, wine and liquid from the clams. Continue to simmer until some of the liquid is reduced down. Keep warm. In the meantime, sauté the mushrooms in a tablespoon of butter and add to the mixture. If you are using canned mushrooms, drain and add to the mixture directly, there is no need to sauté first.
  3. Bring kettle of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook spaghetti until just al dente (about a minute less than the package's directions).
  4. As pasta is cooking, add the clams, parsley and 3 tablespoons of cheese to the sauce and simmer at low heat for about 5 minutes. Add olives and pimento, if desired.
  5. After draining the pasta, stir into the sauce and toss. Sprinkle generously with grated cheese and serve directly from the skillet.

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Nutritional information calculated using The Recipes Generator

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