Linguini & Clams with Fennel & Tarragon

Linguini & Clams with Tomatoes, Fennel & TarragonNo matter the season, I love sitting down to a big bowl of linguini and clams.  In the winter I make hearty additions like chorizo sausage and kale, summertime I keep it light with fresh herbs and maybe diced zucchini or sweet corn.  Or I might decide to make life (and dinner) really simple and just use whatever I’ve got on hand.  In this case, it’s a handful of grape tomatoes, fennel, carrots, and some of the tarragon that is currently taking over my garden.

Friends, simple is good.  This version of linguini and clams is quick, it’s tasty, and it’s worth making over and over with variations galore.

Pick up some clams on your way home, then raid your veggie drawer and your herb garden.  I came up with a couple of carrots, onion, and fennel, plus a pint of grape tomatoes and boatloads of tarragon.  Grab linguini or spaghetti from the cupboard, open a bottle of white wine, and you’re good to go.  Dinner is almost ready.

Linguini & Clams

Sauté the onion, carrots, and fennel.  Add a few pinches of red pepper flakes and minced garlic if you like it zesty.  Toss in the tomatoes, then go ahead and drop the pasta.

Tomatoes, Fennel & TarragonAfter the tomatoes have started to release their juices, toss the clams into the pot along with a few good glugs of white wine.  Cover and steam.

Clams with Fennel & Tomatoes

Your pasta should be al dente just as the clams are popping open.  Transfer the linguini directly to the veggies and clams, season, and scatter in plenty of tarragon.

Done!  Bring the pot to the table with warm bowls.  Get in there and enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures: a delicious dinner that’s made in minutes.

Summer Linguini & Clams

5.0 from 1 reviews
Linguini & Clams with Fennel & Tarragon
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I love pasta with steamed clams. Fennel, tomatoes, and tarragon make lovely additions, but feel free to improvise with whatever vegetables and fresh herbs you have on hand.
Recipe type: Dinner, Entree, Main, Pasta, Seafood
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • ½ # Linguini
  • ½ medium White Onion, diced
  • 1 medium Carrot, diced
  • ½ bulb Fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 pint Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 2 # small Clams, cleaned (*see notes)
  • ¾ c. Dry White Wine
  • a few sprigs Fresh Tarragon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide pot with a lid. Sauté the carrot and onion until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and a few pinches of red pepper flakes. Add the sliced fennel and continue to sauté until the fennel has softened slightly, 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for a minute or 2 until the tomatoes begin to release their juices.
  3. At this point you should drop the pasta in the boiling water.
  4. Add the clams and the white wine to the vegetables. Cover the pot and steam until the clams open.
  5. Ideally, the pasta will be al dente just as the clams begin to open. Pull the pasta from the pot, let most of the water drip off, and transfer to the clam pot. Gently combine the pasta with the clams and vegetables. Season as necessary with additional salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Remove from the heat and scatter in tarragon leaves. Divide between warm bowls and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
*As soon as I bring clams home I rub the clam shells against each other under cold running water to loosen any grit. Then I transfer them to a large bowl of ice water and place them in the refrigerator until I'm an hour away from starting to cooking. Most of the grit will sink to the bottom of the bowl. I then remove the clams, place them in a colander and rinse, and put them back in a fresh bowl of ice water and repeat the process once more.



  1. Robin O. says

    This is one of my favorite pasta dishes of all time! Your version/variation looks delish and I now will have to go out to find some clams! Thanks Sarah!

  2. says

    This looks deelish. I love linguini with clams, too. The absolute best ones I had were in San Remo, accompanied by a big jug of wine ;P

    Your blog is lookin’ good. Yay for Blogher! I just got in too. So much work with this blogging, but really fun..

    • says

      Thanks, Aleks…now you’re making me wish I was eating my linguini & clams along the Italian Riviera instead of in the Midwest!
      I noticed you just switched to Blogher too–hope it’s going well 🙂

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