Linguine with Razor Clams (Linguine ai Cannolicchi)

Razor clams are shellfish with an unusual shape. Compared to vongole (clams) they are sweeter and slightly more chewy. The recipe for linguine with razor clams is very similar to that of spaghetti alle vongole. Just like other clams, the razor clams come with a ‘built-in’ sauce that is delicious and it is important to include it in the dish. The main things to remember are first that it is important to allow the razor clams to purge themselves of sand, which takes longer than usually required for vongole. Second, to not overcook razor clams. They will become very tough if you overcook them. They are done as soon as the shells open up.


For 4 servings

800 grams (1.8 lb) razor clams

300 grams (.66 lb) linguine

1 clove garlic

red chilli flakes

extra virgin olive oil

120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine

2 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley


Allow the razor clams to soak in water as salty as the sea (30 grams salt per litre of water or 4 tsp salt per quart of water) for several hours, preferably overnight.

Put the razor clams in a wide pan with 120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine.


Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.


Turn off the heat as soon as the clams have opened, a couple of minutes.


Drain the clams, reserving the liquid.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the linguine without salt and set the timer for one minute less than the time indicated for al dente.


Take most of the razor clams out of their shells, reserving a few for garnish.


While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and add a whole garlic cloved, peeled. Cook it over medium heat until it is golden, then discard the garlic. (A quick way to do this is to tilt the pan so the garlic can ‘deep fry’.)


Filter the clam juice with a fine sieve and add to the garlic-flavored oil. Add chilli flakes to taste.


Bring to a boil and allow to reduce over medium heat. Do not reduce it by too much, there should be enough liquid left to finish cooking the pasta such that after a minute of cooking the sauce is just right. This takes a bit of practice.


When the timer beeps, drain the linguine and add to the oil and clam juice, together with the reserved clams. Stir for a minute over medium heat to allow the clams to warm through and the sauce to thicken and to coat the pasta.


Turn off the heat and stir in 2 Tbsp of minced parsley.


Serve on preheated plates with the reserved razor clams in the shell for garnish. Drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil, if you like.

Wine pairing

This is great with a full-bodied Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, such as Podium from Garofoli. Many other full-bodied Italian whites will work as well.


Lamb chops ‘scottadito’ are called that way because they are so delicious that you burn your fingers from your eagerness to eat them while they are still hot. Like many Italian dishes, it is as delicious as it is easy to prepare.


8 thoughts on “Linguine with Razor Clams (Linguine ai Cannolicchi)

  1. Wow. Fantastic. I have been dying to try razor clams. They always look wonderful, but we just don’t seem to have them in great supply here. A friend just went “clamming” and found some razor clams, so now I’m determined to get some myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have just eaten this dish with uber-fresh razor clams foraged from our local beach… A treat we can only enjoy a few times a year when the tide is low enough. I can’t imagine putting the whole clam including the guts in though. Would be gritty! I would also add some fresh red chilli to this dish. Otherwise perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anita, that is why I allow the razor clams to purge themselves before using them. I had never thought to remove the guts, but I guess because of the size with razor clams that is actually feasible (contrary to small clams). Something to try next time, because it sure isn’t nice when even after purging there still is grit in them.


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