Mussel and clam spaghetti: a taste of sea and tradition

Spaghetti with mussels and clams is one of the most popular dishes of Italian cuisine around the world. It is prepared almost everywhere along the peninsula (especially in coastal locations) but is typical of the Amalfi coast and the culinary culture of the Campania region. For a successful dish, it is essential to thoroughly check the quality and freshness of the raw ingredients and, if possible, use a pasta that is as less refined as possible. It is a simple dish, essential and relatively uncomplicated to prepare. What is really important is to treat the raw ingredients delicately and avoid overdoing it with aromas, spices and various additions: the seafood is so tasty that it does not really need to be covered with anything else.

Spaghetti mussels and clams: between sea and tradition

The Italian culinary tradition is so varied and full of very different recipes, ranging from appetizers to desserts, that to cover them all would be really impossible. However, if we want to focus on one of the typical dishes most appreciated by lovers of fresh fish and seafood , we must definitely mention spaghetti mussels and clams, one of the most famous typical dishes in the world. Spaghetti with mussels and clams is served in any fish restaurant worthy of being called such and it reaches the maximum of its culinary value when made using the most selected, freshly fished ingredients.

Origins of spaghetti mussels and clams and variants: where to eat it?

If you want to taste spaghetti mussels and clams of excellent quality, the ideal is certainly to do it in its homeland of origin: Campania. The Amalfi coast has made “scialatelli” mussels and clams a real culinary status symbol. The scialatelli differ from spaghetti because of the shape, slightly shorter and thicker, but since they are difficult to find the dish can be prepared with equal success using the classic spaghetti or alternatively the thin vermicelli. The ideal would be to use bronze-drawn pasta and as less refined as possible: the more homemade flavor and the rougher texture will be able to further enhance the dish, already very tasty.

Consider, in fact, that spaghetti mussels and clams is considered by the Neapolitans a dish “sciué sciué” (which, in Neapolitan, is the equivalent of “fast fast”), excellent to prepare on Sunday for lunch avoiding the great classic of Italian cuisine, that is ragù sauce, which has significantly longer cooking times. Among the best restaurants to enjoy a dish of mussels and clams we suggest the Osteria da Carlo, in Anzio, and the osteria Com’una Volta, in Riccione. If you can take a trip to the Amalfi coast, you shouldn’t miss the delicious dishes of the Ristorante da Riccio in Amalfi and Casa Mele, located in Positano.

Credits: SecondChef

Spaghetti mussels and clams: the recipe

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 350g bronze-drawn spaghetti
  • 1kg between mussels and clams
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Parsley q.b.
  • Salt and pepper ground at the moment


To prepare spaghetti mussels and clams, after having cleaned the shellfish properly (but without exaggerating with the rinsing), brown the 2 cloves of garlic in a high sided pan. Then pour in the mussels and clams, cover with a lid and cook over medium heat until they open. The spaghetti will be cooked in a very high pot and drained “al dente”, leaving it quite moist or even better, keeping aside, a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water. The cooking of the spaghetti will be finished sautéed over a high heat for a few minutes along with the cooked seafood. Once ready, it can be tasted and seasoned with salt and pepper and garnished with fresh parsley.

Spaghetti mussels and clams: recommended combinations

Like any self-respecting dish, the ideal combination of spaghetti with mussels and clams is when it is tasted together with an excellent white wine. To be more precise, it is advisable to have a wine with an alcohol content of between 12 and 13% vol and which has good minerality and natural acidity. The minerality goes well with the tendency to the sweetness of the pasta, while dry and medium aromatic and intense aromas are in perfect agreement with the delicate but unmistakable taste of the dish. We do not recommend very intense white wines (such as Sauvignon) and instead recommend wines such as Bianco di Custoza and, in general, all Chardonnays.

Main image credits: Ricette Bimby
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