Pasta and seafood served up in a classic Italian way! This easy recipe for Gluten-Free Linguine with White Clam Sauce is top allergen-friendly and is ready in 10 minutes with the help of a few shortcut ingredients so you can have a delicious dinner on the table in a flash!
Italians, we like our pasta. We also like our seafood. Fancy to some, gross to others, and a top 8 allergen to a small percent (like my mom). Italians celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, with various plates of fish and seafood galore. My family never stuck to that whole-heartedly, but we did include some fish and seafood in our Christmas Eve festivities. This specific dish I’m sharing today was one that my mom would make my brother and I when we were growing up. Linguine with White Clam Sauce. We’d use any pasta and the sauce…you better believe it came from a can!
First, what is the Feast of the Seven Fishes?
It dates back to Roman times where they’d celebrate Christmas Eve with a feast of seafood since Catholics did not eat animal meat until actual Christmas day. While the number “seven” is used today in Italian-American culture, it doesn’t actually mean anything. Families can serve upwards of 11 different seafood dishes if they’re feeling ambitious (Italians love to cook so…). In Italy, and not America, the Christmas Eve feast isn’t called anything special, it just is “a feast”. Christmas Eve has always been much more celebratory for Italians (and my family); these traditions are part of that reason. The seafood dishes may include anything from “anchovies, whiting, lobster, sardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eels, squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels and clams” served in various ways and with other dishes such as pasta, vegetables, etc (source).
What is linguine with white clam sauce?
If you want to go all out traditional, linguine with clam sauce would consist of whole, fresh, clams, in shell. Y’all, that’s expensive, more time consuming, requires more skill, and I think we can all agree that a “cheaters” version can work just as well if we do it right! This is where I tell you about my canned clam sauce childhood (and something my brother still LOVES to this day). I’m not sure why linguine is the classic pasta of choice of the traditional dish, it the clam sauce can be served with any pasta, but regardless, the sauce is a white clam sauce, not red which is served with spaghetti, ironically, as it’s a tomato-based sauce! The white clam sauce, canned or not, will consist of olive oil, tons of garlic, and herbs such as parsley. Pretty simple in ingredients, but packed with flavor.
How do you make an easy shortcut version of linguine with white clam sauce?
With the traditional Italian ingredients in mind, I took a look at the back of the canned stuff. Now, this canned clam sauce smells amazing when my brother makes it (or heats it up on the stove, more accurately), but is a horror for your health and contains some unsavory things. Specifically, Rienzi brand (the only one my brother buys) is actually gluten-free but contains soy and…”Clams, Clam Broth (Water, Clam Juice), Soybean Oil, Modified Corn Starch, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Dehydrated Garlic, Parsley Flakes, Sugar, Autolyzed Yeast Extract”. Not so bad, but could use a little ingredient clean up. So to make our own, I simply heated up a pot of canned minced clams, clam juice, olive oil, minced garlic, dried parsley, and a bit of black pepper and onion powder. Then just serve it over some gluten-free linguine, spaghetti, or any pasta shape your heart desires (or you have in the pantry!) Literally this meal can be done in less than 10 minutes since the clams are already cooked and you just need to heat the sauce together while you boil up some pasta! Cheating = Winning!
Serving suggestions for pasta with clams sauce?
While this may have been a weeknight meal for my growing up, it’s still an essential Feast of the Seven Fishes dish and fancy enough for any holiday or date night dinner! But, it’s also SO quick and SO easy that you too can enjoy the pasta with canned white clam sauce tradition that I knew and loved, just without the can! Actually, that’s a lie, you’re still using canned minced clams! If you’re just serving this as a simple weeknight meal, might I suggest serving this plate of garlicky sauced pasta with some gluten-free garlic bread as well? Perfect for soaking up all the excess sauce that’s garlic heavy and full or robust olive oil!
Classic Italian Gluten-Free Linguine with White Clam Sauce
- Boil your pasta of choice according to package directions, drain, and add back to pot.
- In a sauce pot, combine the drained clams, clam juice, olive oil, parsley, garlic, pepper, and onion.
- Heat and mix together on the stove over medium high heat while the pasta boils. Reduce to a simmer once the ingredients are combined.
- Pour the finished clam sauce into the cooked pasta pot and toss (you'll have extra sauce if you use only 8 oz of pasta).
Literally, one of the easiest pasta dishes you’ll ever make! Whether you want a change from your typical red tomato sauce, you need an easy seafood dish, or you just one a good plate of gluten-free linguine with white clam sauce, you’re in for a win! Pasta is never a bad choice and if you’re new to things like clams, this is a great “cheater” recipe to start with! No barriers to entry, but simply opening up a can!
So tell me:
+ Do you serve a traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes?
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