Creamy White Wine Clam Sauce with Garlic and Rosemary

20191226_183732I don’t make this dish enough.  Nowhere nearly enough.  My medium boy reminds of this on a regular basis.

20200104_211245(All links open a new page, so you won’t lose your spot when you look around!  Get information on gardening and cultural traditions, recipes, stories, and more!)

I will usually buy fresh, live clams in the shell a couple of times a year to make my clam chowder recipe.  Each time, my medium boy begs me to make this clam pasta sauce.  I make vague promises to do so, but then wind up using them all for the soup.

20200104_211321Part of my reluctance has come from the fact that he really likes it with the clams still in the shell, but to be honest, it makes for a messy meal.  You have to scoop out clam meat from hot shells covered in a slippery (but really tasty) sauce and then you have a really big bite of clam meat, which is not everyone’s favorite texture (that would be the littlest boy).

20200104_211346Though serving the pasta with clams still in the shell makes for an impressive presentation, in the end, it’s all about eating it, right?  So I decided to skip over the looks and go straight for the eating experience.  Feel free to follow me to easy and delicious land.  By the way, if you skip over prepping fresh clams (which isn’t hard) and go for canned clams, this sauce is ready in the time it takes to make the pasta!  Nice!


  • Difficulty: easier than resisting my medium boy's guilt trips
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  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine (cheap Chablis is fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 lb. clam meat, fresh or canned, chopped to your desired texture
  • 1 lb. uncooked pasta (spaghetti or linguine are good choices)


If you are starting with fresh clams you will need about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of clams in the shell.  See my instructions for preparing fresh clams in my clam chowder recipe.  (The shells are great for adding to your garden since they will help provide much needed calcium for fruit development!)  If you are starting with canned clams, drain them first before chopping.  The liquid from either fresh cooked or canned clams can be used in the clam chowder, or frozen for use later on.

Once your clams are ready, you will want to start your pasta and then prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking.  When your pasta is done, drain it and add a little olive oil to the noodles.  The drained liquid is great for garden plants and compost once it is cooled!

In a pan, put the butter and olive oil.  Bring the heat to high until the butter starts to sizzle.  Add the garlic and saute for less than a minute, then add the rosemary.  Continue to saute just until the garlic is barely beginning to brown.

Add the wine and cream and bring the mixture to a boil.  Continue to cook for 10 minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken and turn a light tan color.  Use a spatula to move the sauce around to help reduce it and to prevent sticking.

Add the clams and continue to cook for another five minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow to sit uncovered for a couple of minutes.  It will continue to thicken.  When the pasta is ready, pour all the sauce over and toss to completely combine.  This tastes great on its own, or with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

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