Thai Red Clam Sauce Pasta

Thai Red Clam Sauce Pasta takes an Italian standby and gives it a Thai twist.  A classic Pasta alle Vongole in Rosso is enhanced with fresh, savory elements from Thai cuisine to create a rich, aromatic and colorful fusion dish.  We created this recipe after several trips to Thailand and Vito made the connection between Thai and Italian cuisines, which both use local ingredients at the height of their seasonal freshness, often combining them with noodles or pasta or rice to create Thai Red Clam Sauce Pasta.

While spaghetti or linguine are the traditional pasta used for this dish, one could substitute rice noodles or shirataki noodles, as we did.  Begin your dinner with an appetizer of Fresh Figs and Prosciutto followed by Thai Red Clam Sauce Pasta, accompanied by a cold, crisp, dry white wine.

Thai Red Clam Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes, Total Time: 50 minutes. Serves 2.

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  • 5 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tb minced Shallot
  • 1 ½ tsp minced Garlic
  • 3 red Thai Bird Chilis, sliced into very thin rounds
  • ¼ tsp coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 stalk Lemon Grass, ends trimmed, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 1 tsp minced Makrut Lime leaves
  • 4 very ripe Roma Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tb Thai Basil leaves
  • 1 Tb Mint leaves
  • 1 Tb Cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 lbs small Clams*
  • 3 oz per person Spaghetti or Linguine Pasta

Thai Red Clam Sauce


  1. Mince the shallot and garlic, slice the chilis, combine in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
  3. Trim the lemon grass and cut the stalk into 3 or 4 pieces. Mince the Makrut lime leaves and chop the tomatoes.  Combine the lemon grass pieces, minced lime leaves and chopped tomatoes in a bowl.
  4. Rinse the clams of any sand and debris, drain in a colander, place in a bowl.
  5. Pour the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the sea salt, shallot, garlic and chilis to the oil and sauté over a medium-high heat uncovered until shallot and garlic are golden brown.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes, lemon grass and lime leaves to the pan, stir, cover and sauté over a medium heat until the tomatoes soften.
  7. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.
  8. While the tomatoes are cooking down, rinse the Thai basil, mint and cilantro, tear the leaves from the stems and combine the three herbs leaves in a bowl.
  9. Once the tomatoes have cooked down, the sauce should thicken a bit, if it is too thin or watery, raise the heat and cook uncovered for a few minutes.
  10. Add the dry white wine to the sauce and simmer uncovered over a medium heat, reducing the volume of the sauce by half.
  11. Add the clams to the sauce, raise the heat to high; cook uncovered until the clams open. Discard any unopened clams.
  12. Remove the pieces of lemon grass from the sauce, sprinkle the herbs over the clams and remove the pan from the heat.
  13. Using tongs, transfer the cooked pasta serving bowls.
  14. Spoon the clams and sauce over the freshly cooked pasta and serve Thai Red Clam Sauce Pasta immediately accompanied by a very dry white wine.

Thai Red Clam Sauce


  • Smaller clams work best, particularly Manila clams.

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