Spaghetti with Clam Sauce for 2

spaghetti with clam sauce 1200

Sometimes you need to work a bit of household magic: make a meal appear out of nowhere, fast. This quick and splendid spaghetti with clam sauce for 2 is a perfect example. Keep spaghetti and a can of clams in your pantry, and if you also have garlic, a lemon, a bit of wine, and some parsley, you’ve got dinner.

It’s super-fast, and super-satisfying. I added some toasted bread and a chopped tomato for a simple yet delicious meal. Total time, including the bruschetta, under 30 minutes!

spaghetti with clam sauce 1200

Spaghetti with Clam Sauce for 2

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: quick, seafood, serves 2, pasta, clam sauce, pantry cooking
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2
Pasta with a super-quick clam sauce
Print Recipe


  • 8 oz spaghetti pasta
  • salt for pasta water
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 6-oz can minced clams, including liquid
  • cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


  • Bring a large pot of water to a full rolling boil, and salt it liberally: 1 tablespoon salt for every 2 quarts of water. You’ll be preparing the sauce while the pasta cooks, so work quickly!
  • Peel and mince the garlic cloves, and grate almost a teaspoon of zest from a fresh lemon. Chop the parsley. Open the canned clams and set aside.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water, and set a timer for 1-2 minutes less than the recommended time from the package. While the pasta cooks in violently boiling water, make the clam sauce.
  • Heat olive oil on medium heat in a skillet. Add minced garlic (and crushed red pepper, if you’re using it), and cook just a bit – under a minute. Let the garlic fragrance bloom, but do not let the garlic get brown. Add the wine to the pan, then only the juices from the clams. Raise the temperature to high and bring the liquid to a boil, letting the sauce reduce while the pasta finishes cooking.
  • The sauce should be reduced by two-thirds just about the time that the pasta has finished cooking. Reduce the heat, add the chopped clams, and then the lemon zest and chopped parsley.
  • When the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain it, put it in a serving bowl, and pour the sauce over.
    Toss to combine, sprinkle with black pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

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I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

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