Clam Pasta Recipe あさりのパスタ

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Clam Pasta | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Clam Pasta or Spaghetti alle Vongole (ボンゴレスパゲッティ , ボンゴレビアンコ) is one of the most popular Italian pasta in Japan along with Spaghetti Bolognaise (Spaghetti Meat Sauce), Carbonala, Aglio olio e peperoncino (Japanese call it “Peperoncino”), and Spagehtti Neapolitan (I shared the recipe in this post).

You may wonder why I’m sharing an Italian recipes (because I share mainly Japanese recipes here on my blog).  The reason is Italian cuisine is wildly popular in Japan, especially pasta!  I’ve received email and comments from several Italian readers about how amazing Italian restaurants are in Japan that they’ve tried.  They’ve commented to me saying Japan has some of the best Italian restaurants outside of Italy (of course there are not so great ones too, but that’s everywhere, I guess).

Clam Pasta | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Not only do the Japanese enjoy pasta at Italian restaurants, but we also cook at home.  There are many easy pasta like this clam pasta recipe (Spaghetti Alle Vongole) we can easily make at home.  The meal is ready in less than half an hour.  I have been pre-occupied lately with some food projects that I’m working on before leaving for Japan at the end of this month.  Not having enough time to cook multi-dish meals, this quick and easy pasta recipe often comes in handy and saves our family dinner.

Clam Pasta | Easy Japanese Recipes at

Now my husband Shen would like to review the wine that we paired with this pasta for dinner.  Here’s what he wants to say.

To match with clam pasta’s spicy kick from red chili pepper, we’ve paired it with Pfendler Chardonnay.  Honestly, it’s a small miracle that I was actually able to write my thoughts on this wine as I almost finished the the entire bottle without even realizing it.  The Pfendler 2011 Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes.  I would describe its character similar to sweet nectar, almost like a dessert wine. 

As you first sip this wine, there is a burst of buttery peach flavor slowly coating your tongue.  Slowly as the wine passes your mouth, more flavors come to light, exposing a bit of spice, the feeling a pear dancing your palate, and finishing note is creamy and rich.  The wine leaves your mouth very clean and leaving behind a hint fruity note.  It makes you want to take one more sip as your mind tries to figure out exactly what flavors you’ve been tasting.  I highly recommend this wine if you enjoy complex chardonnay with a beautiful finish.  

Lastly, as a note Chardonnay should never be served too cold.  You want to be able to taste great white wine and not drink “cold wine” which mask the flavors. 

Please note: We received no compensation for this review. We received Pfendler Chardonnay from Jarvis Communications free of charge to use in exchange for an honest review.

Clam Pasta | Easy Japanese Recipes at

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Clam Pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 1 lb (450-500g) fresh manila clams (They need to be de-gritted.)
  • ½ lb (227g) spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 red chilies
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  1. De-grit clams (here’s how to do it).
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, stirring constantly in the beginning to prevent it from sticking together. Cook until al dente. Drain pasta into a colander.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, add garlic and red chili pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and sauté until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Add the clams and wine and increase the heat to medium. Quickly cover and steam for 5 minutes or until all the clams have opened.
  5. Discard the clams that didn’t open and add 1 Tbps. parsley and season with pepper. Transfer the clams to a plate.
  6. Taste the sauce and season with pepper and salt (clams are already salty so you probably don't need to add too much salt).
  7. Add the pasta and toss until pasta is coated with the sauce.
  8. Remove from the heat and place pasta on a serving plate and put clams on top. Garnish with remaining parsley and serve immediately.
Prep time does not include de-grit time.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.


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  1. I love clams and this dish … either with or without tomatoes. One day I hope to make it with live clams in the shell like yours but so far, I’ve only done it with the canned ones. :(

  2. This is one of our favorite pasta dishes; I’m happy to see we cook it almost the exact same way – I use red pepper flakes instead for a shortcut. : ) I remember being amazed by how truly delicious Italian food and, particularly, pasta is in Japan. It made a big impression on us.

  3. When my husband and I went on our honeymoon to Japan, we were amazed by how many Italian restaurants we saw. I had no idea Italian food was so popular there until then. This looks really delicious, must try!

  4. This is surely a delightful recipe, Nami !
    Loved ur picture of boiling noodles, looking artistic !
    Have a great day !
    Regards, Sonia

  5. Mmh, during the time we lived in Italy this was my favorite dish at a little trattoria in the center of Rome. But homemade it’s even so much better.
    This pasta is at my to do list for this weekend :)
    Nami, as usual the pictures are superb.

  6. What a beautiful looking spaghetti. That’s a wonderful looking pasta that would be a delicious family meal. Photographing pasta isn’t easy and you’ve managed wonderful images xx

  7. Never knew Japanese love indulging in Italian cuisine. So fun! This looks like something I want to try soon. Have never ventured into clams before.

    Thanks to Shen for his thorough review on wine. A great wealth of info!

  8. Eha

    Uhuh! Am glad I am not the only one who has difficulty in accessing fresh seafood and have to admit I too have had to go ‘third-class’ and use tinned clams! Thank God now I can go second-class as frozen on shell has at last arrived in our local supermarket [yes, well!!]. But I have made the same recipe with other seafood I have been brought and it is a simple but formidably tasty dish!!!

  9. Jayne

    Nami, I really really really love clams with pasta. In fact clams on it’s own, sauteed with a little garlic, dried chilli, ginger, lemongrass, mirin and salt makes me the happiest human on earth. We just had it that way 2 night ago. Would have been incredible with pasta. There’s this Japanese Italian food place near my house and they do really do good pastas.

  10. Orchidea

    Spaghetti alle Congolese in white (no tomato sauce, there is a red version) is my absolute favorite dish and when I am in Italy I always ask my parents to prepare it… It is so good! The recipe and procedure you wrote is perfect, exactly as we prepare this dish in Italy… nice to know you like Italian food in Japan. Unfortunately in Sweden is very difficult to find vongole and if you find them they are not so fresh and usually very expensive, hat is why I do not make this pasta dish so often but wait to go to Italy to eat it.

  11. Oh my! I find everything about clam-pasta post is SEXY. Hands-down SEXY :)
    Thanks for the recipe. I’m tremendously inspired to try it on coming Saturday night.

  12. This looks fancy and delicious! I love Japanese food and although their food tastes different than Italians but knowing that both countries are famous for good food it’s only natural for them to appreciate and enjoy each others dishes.

  13. It looks like pasta alle vongole indeed! Clams are such ugly – though delicious – creatures… I don’t know how you have managed to make them look so beautiful and so appetising (even though I like them, I thought the aesthetics is not their strong side). The Japanese seem to have a huge passion for Italian cuisine so I can well believe Japanese restaurants are great. I don’t think I will ever have a chance to taste Italian cuisine in Japan, maybe if I live there one day 😉 I crave so much Japanese delightful dishes that I couldn’t think of any other cuisine there.

  14. I alway go for the quick italian recipes especially the psta dishes when no time have in hands, they also fit for summer times when kids are arround and no time to cook. Such a pretty dish as always, thank you Nami.

  15. I seem to need the quick and easy recipes every single day! Thanks for sharing your wonderful version of this classic…so beautiful, my friend!

  16. Well that was news to me that Italian was so popular in Japan, but after all there are Italian restaurants everywhere in the world I guess. I do enjoy this dish and your looks beautiful, especially with the shell in the dish. The wine sounds lovely.

  17. Oh WOW!! What a mouthwatering image!!!
    I love everything about this post, the pic, the mussels and the recipe, although I have never cooked mussels before, I will have to try!

  18. So funny, I would never think of Italian food as being popular in Japan, but this is one of my husband’s favorite dishes and we’re of Chinese heritage. I think it might be the natural umami in clams.

  19. donna mikasa

    Oh, this looks so good! I feel that it will be a family fave–especially if it can be made in under half an hour! Thank your husband for the great wine review, too!

  20. I never knew Italian food was so popular in Japan… that’s very cool. This looks like a fantastic dish and the wine sounds yummy. I am immediately attracted to the peach flavor …. Mmmmm!!

    PS.. I actually made a Japanese curry recently thanks to you. I am going to post it on my blog soon. :)

  21. You and Liren were on the same wavelength and posted one of my favorite pasta dishes. If I ever get a chance to visit Japan I’ll be sure to try a recommended Italian restaurant. I have no doubt that I’ll be wowed.

    Your bowl of spaghetti alle vongole looks so inviting and comforting–now I’ll have to whip up a batch (and find that wine!).

    Have a great weekend! (and love the colored board!)

  22. A fantastic pasta dish for a busy week, Nami. I’ve been cooking mine with sun dried tomatoes, so it’s time to indulge in some seafood fare. The Italians are right:) The Italian restaurants/ cafes in Japan are definitely one of the things to explore in Japan. I remember the coffee and pastries are incredible too! Hope you have a nice weekend ahead

  23. I love clam pasta and make them whenever I get hold of the fresh clams. Splashing a good quality of wine is a must. Thanks for your lovely recipe and the picture. It is 7am here and I wouldn’t mind to have this bowl of pasta for a breakfast if I could.

  24. 実は今晩これだったのよ。夫が作ったのだけど、すごく似たレシピです。砂抜きの仕方も近い!

  25. Konnichi wa Nami-san. Great little Italiano dish with superb Japanese plating and attention to detail… and thanks to the hubby for an awesome wine pairing and all under 30minutes. I am loving that…Ja mata, BAM

  26. I had no idea that Italian food is so popular in Japan, once again I learn something from your blog :) This clam dish looks great, clams and mussels are one of my favorites.

  27. Yum! I love clams and pasta, and your photos are just stunning Nami!

    It’s been since January and after what happened to my parents since I have been on the computer much and haven’t been blogging. I thought I should try to come back and I will still include them in many post like I always have. All the while I did enjoy checking in once in awhile to see what you’ve been up to, thanks for that! :)

  28. This is exactly how I make my clam pasta! There is no other better way, and it’s always been a reliable way to cook a quick week night meal! I love this dish and it’s one of my favourite in the whole wide world! Reminds me of being on a beach in Italy!

  29. I think Italian food is loved and enjoyed all over the world! You’ve outdone yourself with this beautiful plate of clams in pasta, I have to say this is one of my favorites that I order in an Italian restaurant when I see it on the menu :-)

  30. Dear Nami,

    I love cooking vongole for lunch in the summer weekends and I find a few slithers of anchovies in its EVOO adds some depth and complexity of flavours too. And I think an oaky, buttery chardy is a great pairing too.

  31. Nami, fabulous photography, makes me feel like I am at a seaside resort having one unforgettable lunch! I love shaghetti alle vongole and always think that we should definitely eat it more often! Simply delicious, Nami!

  32. Candice

    Mmmm…I love clams! This is a dish I frequently order when visiting Italian restaurants. It looks delicious and perfectly executed, Nami! Your family is so lucky to have a great chef in the house. =)

    • Hi Candice! Thanks for your sweet words. I am hoping that I teach now and they will cook for me one day. 😀 Heh heh heh. Clam pasta is a easiest pasta! Hope you will try it at home! :)

  33. Hi Nami please don’t apologise for not visitng my blog for a while because I too have been busy and haven’t visited for a while :) Good to see you sharing a warm and comforting pasta dish! It’s super cold in Melbourne right now so I’d love to dig into a bowl of this clam pasta! :) Hope you’ve been well! xox

  34. Pete

    Thanks for the great recipe! I substituted 1 tbsp of grass fed butter for 1 tbsp of the olive oil and it came out absolutely perfect. My daughter couldn’t get enough.


    • Hi Pete! Thank you for trying this recipe! I sometimes drop butter at the end, it makes it a little more creamy and ohhh so delicious! :) Thank you for writing your feedback and glad to hear your daughter enjoyed it. You made my day! Happy Father’s Day to you!

  35. Yes, its true talian cuisine is wildly popular in Japan. I am sharing 13 Quick Pasta Dishes This is a kind of food that would surely make you feel heaven after gobbling on a plate of it. Here are quick pasta recipes that won’t let you wait long for dinner.