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Strozzapreti Pasta with Clams in a Spicy Fresh Tomato Sauce


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Are you searching for a quick and easy-to-prepare clam recipe? This Strozzapreti Pasta with Clams in a Spicy Fresh Tomato Sauce isn’t just a recipe; it’s a celebration of seafood at its finest! This rustic seafood recipe combines plump littleneck clams with the sun-kissed sweetness of cherry tomatoes, zesty garlic, and aromatic herbs. Imagine tender clams, mingling in a vibrant concoction of tomatoes and spices, enveloping every inch of perfectly al dente Strozzapreti pasta. You can have this restaurant-quality seafood meal on your dinner table in just about 20 minutes!

A white bowl with gold detail around the rim filled with Strozzapreti Pasta and Clams. The dish is garnished with fresh chopped parsley.


Littleneck and middleneck clams are the stars of this dish for several compelling reasons. These particular clam varieties are prized for their sweet, tender meat and delicate brininess. When cooked, littleneck and middleneck clams retain their moisture and flavor, ensuring each bite is a succulent delight. Their smaller size also means they cook quickly and evenly, preventing overcooking and preserving their natural juiciness.

While it’s true that most clams available in today’s markets are relatively clean, soaking them remains a crucial step in seafood preparation. Soaking clams, even if just for a short time, serves a dual purpose:

  • It allows the clams to expel any residual sand, ensuring your final dish is free from gritty textures
  • Soaking provides an opportunity to inspect the clams individually, discarding any that might be damaged or open, ensuring you only cook and consume the freshest clams.


With just a handful of fresh, high-quality ingredients, this homemade clam pasta recipe eliminates the need for complicated preparation:

  • Clams: The natural sweetness, brininess, tenderness, and visual appeal of both littleneck and middleneck clams make them the ideal choice, ensuring that this pasta dish is not only delicious but also visually and texturally appealing to those enjoying it.
  • Strozzapreti Pasta: Strozzapreti, translating to “priest choker,” is an Italian pasta variety resembling short, twisted ropes. Its firm texture and twisted shape make it perfect for trapping the flavors of sauces, like the clam-infused tomato sauce in this recipe. If you can’t find strozzapreti, you can substitute it with other short pasta shapes like penne or orecchiette.
  • Cherry Tomates: Cherry tomatoes are naturally sweet and provide a pleasant contrast to the briny taste of the clams. Alternatively, use Roma or plum tomatoes.
  • White Wine: Choose a white wine that compliments the dish without overpowering the delicate flavors of the clams and tomatoes. Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc are great light-bodied wines for cooking.
  • Shallots and Garlic: Easily replace the shallots with white onion. If you desire, add more garlic cloves.
  • Herbs: Experiment with additional herbs. Fresh basil would be a great compliment to this clam pasta dish.


One of the most enticing aspects of this Strozzapreti Pasta with Clams in a Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe is its remarkable ease and speed of preparation. Despite its gourmet appeal, this dish can be whipped up in no time.

The beauty of this clam recipe is its parallel cooking method. While the sauce is simmering and the pasta is cooking, you can efficiently handle both tasks. Meanwhile, the clams soak, and any impurities are purged away, ensuring they are clean and ready to be cooked.

  1. Clean Clams: Soak clams, then rinse. Discard any unopened or damaged clams.
  2. Make Sauce: In a food processor, blend tomatoes, garlic, shallot, red pepper, salt, black pepper, lemon zest, and parsley until smooth.
  3. Cook Sauce: Simmer sauce in olive oil. Add white wine and clams. Cook until clams open (5-7 mins). Remove clams.
  4. Cook Pasta: Cook strozzapreti in boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water. Drain pasta.
  5. Combine Ingredients: Toss pasta in sauce. Add clams. Add reserved pasta water if needed for consistency.
  6. Garnish and Serve: Garnish with parsley and lemon zest. Serve hot.

Helpful Tips

  • Choose Fresh Ingredients: Opt for the freshest littleneck or middleneck clams available. Look for clams that are tightly closed or ones that close when tapped gently, indicating they are alive and fresh.
  • Thoroughly Clean the Clams: Even though most clams available today are relatively clean, it’s essential to soak them in cold water with a sprinkle of flour or salt to remove any remaining dirt or sand. Rinse them under running water and inspect each clam before cooking.
  • Perfect the Sauce Consistency: Blend the tomato, garlic, and herb mixture until it’s smooth and well-incorporated. Simmer it gently to let the flavors meld but avoid overcooking, as a fresh and vibrant sauce is key to this dish.
  • Mind the Pasta Cooking Time: Cook the strozzapreti pasta just until it’s al dent. The pasta will continue cooking briefly in the sauce. Overcooked pasta can become mushy and won’t hold the sauce as well.
  • Save Pasta Water: Before draining the pasta, reserve a cup of the cooking water. Adding a bit of this starchy water to the sauce as the clams are steaming, helps bind everything together and enhances the overall flavor.
  • Unopened Clams: Clams that do not open after steaming should be discarded, as they are likely dead and may pose a risk to your health if consumed.
  • Adjust Seasoning Carefully: Taste the sauce before adding additional salt or pepper. Remember, clams naturally releas
  • saltiness, so it’s better to season lightly at first and adjust later if needed.
  • Garnish Thoughtfully: Fresh parsley and lemon zest are not just garnishes; they add a burst of freshness to the finished dish.
  • Serve Immediately: Seafood dishes are best enjoyed right after cooking. Serve the Strozzapreti with Clams immediately after combining the pasta with the sauce to savor the freshness and warmth of the dish.
  • Experiment with Substitutions: While the recipe calls for strozzapreti, feel free to explore other short pasta options like penne or orecchiette. Similarly, if you prefer a spicier kick, increase the crushed red pepper quantity to suit your taste preferences.


To serve this flavor-packed seafood pasta, pair alongside a simple green salad and crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.

If you happen to have leftovers, prior to storing, remove the clams from the shell. Store the pasta with the clams in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat gently on the stove, adding a splash of water or wine to maintain the sauce’s consistency.


Explore more with my variety of easy and delicious clam recipes, perfect for seafood enthusiasts of all levels:

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A close of Strozzapreti Pasta with Clams in a deep saucepan.

Strozzapreti Pasta with Clams in a Spicy Fresh Tomato Sauce


This Strozzapreti Pasta with Clams in a Spicy Fresh Tomato Sauce isn’t just a recipe; it’s a celebration of seafood at its finest! This recipe combines plump littleneck clams and pasta with the sun-kissed sweetness of cherry tomatoes, zesty garlic, and aromatic herbs.


  • 22 1/2 dozen littleneck or middleneck clams
  • 12-ounces Strozzapretti pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • zest of one lemon, divided
  • 5 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, divided


  1. Place the clams in a bowl of cold water with 1/2 tablespoon of flour or salt to purge an excess dirt for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Start boiling a pot of water for the pasta.
  3. While the clams are soaking, in a food processor, combine the tomatoes, shallot, garlic cloves, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, 1/2 lemon zest and fresh parsley.
  4. Pulse to create a fresh tomato sauce.
  5. Heat olive oil to medium in a deep saucepan.
  6. Once heated, add in the fresh tomato sauce and cook for a few minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
  7. Add in the white wine. Turn up the heat to just under a boil.
  8. Once the pasta water is boiling, salt generously. Add the pasta.
  9. Drain and rinse the clams. Add them to the sauce.
  10. Cover. Allow to steam open.
  11. Add a ladle of the pasta water to the clams as they are steaming.
  12. If any of the clams do not open after 7-8 minutes, remove and discard.
  13. Cook the pasta just to al dente.
  14. Transfer the pasta directly from the pot to the tomato clam sauce.
  15. Add in a tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley.
  16. Toss to coat in the sauce and cook for just a few more minutes.
  17. Plate individual servings garnished with fresh parsley, lemon zest. Optionally, sprinkle on a touch more crushed red pepper flakes.
  18. Serve immediately.
  19. ENJOY!


  • Look for fresh littleneck or middleneck clams that are tightly closed.
  • Soak the clams for at least 10 minutes with a touch of flour or salt to purge any excess debris or sand. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Salt the pasta water.
  • Cook the pasta just to al dente prior to adding to the sauce.
  • Feel free to substitute Strozzapreti pasta with your favorite shape pasta. 
  • Add a touch of pasta water to the clams as they are steaming. The starchy water will help enhance the flavor and bind the sauce.
  • As the clams are soaking, start on the sauce and boiling the water for the pasta. 
  • Discard any clams that do not open after steaming as unopened clams are likely dead and can pose a health risk to you if consumed.
  • Garnish each dish with fresh parsley and lemon zest to add freshness to the finished dish.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Prep Time: 8 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Category: Dinner, Seafood Pasta
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Strozzapreti Clam Pasta, Fresh Tomato Clam Sauce, Seafood Pasta Recipe, Italian Clam Dish, Littleneck Clam Recipe, Mediterranean Pasta, Easy Clam Recipe, Homemade Pasta Dish, Gourmet Seafood Pasta, Quick Clam Pasta, Authentic Strozzapreti with Clams Recipe, How to Make Fresh Tomato Sauce for Clam Pasta, Best Littleneck Clam Pasta in Mediterranean Style, Step-by-Step Seafood Pasta with Littleneck Clams, Italian Strozzapreti Pasta with Homemade Tomato Clam Sauce, Delicious Clam Pasta for Seafood Lovers, Quick and Easy Strozzapreti Clam Pasta at Home, Family-Friendly Fresh Tomato Clam Pasta Dinner, Classic Italian Strozzapreti and Clam Recipe, Rustic Seafood Pasta with Littleneck Clams and Cherry Tomatoes, Pasta, Fish and Seafood, Easy clam pasta recipe, quick and easy clam pasta, easy weeknight seafood pasta, easy weeknight meals, littleneck clams recipe, middleneck clams recipe, easy clam dish, clam recipe for Feast of the Seven Fishes, what is Strozzapreti pasta, how to clean clams, steamed clams recipe


A photo of me in a black floral dress cooking at the stovetop at Williams-Sonoma

WELCOME! My name is Melissa Latin aka. Charlotte Fashion Plate. Happy to meet you! I am more than just recipes. I love fashion and style too! Most importantly, I love my Family (my Hubby and my Fur Babies). My Husband (aka my “Kitchen Bitch”) means the world to me. He’s pretty damn cool too. Not only is he one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, he also has had a lengthy career in professional hockey. Not only winning two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early ’90’s, but most recently winning the Calder Cup with the Charlotte Checkers, amongst many other accolades. If you live in Charlotte and play hockey, or have a family member who plays, be sure to contact him!

Our life has changed dramatically in the past few years with the passing of our two goldendoodles, Vegas and Viva. We were lucky enough to have Vegas for five years (totally wish it was longer). Most recently, losing our Viva to a brain tumor in July of 2020. We welcomed our mini goldendoodle 7, almost seven years ago. We just added the amazing Hazel! Of course, I am always posting tons and tons of photos! Be sure to check out my recipe for Pet Bone Broth! This broth is super rich in nutrients and will provide your pet with a multitude of health benefits!

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