Spaghetti with Manila Clams, Asparagus and Lemon

This sustainable seafood recipe from our partner, Monterey Bay Aquarium, is a seafood “Best Choice.”


(Serves 4)

14-16 ounces spaghetti, preferably multigrain
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup bottled clam juice
3 pounds Manila clams
1/2 cup sliced fresh chives
1/3 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Fill a large pot three-fourths full of salted water, and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 11 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and stir until beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Add the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Sauté 1 minute to heat through. Add the wine and clam juice and boil 2 minutes to partially cook the asparagus. Add the clams and half the parsley and chives. Cover the pan and cook until the clams just open, about 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the pasta and transfer to a large warmed bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Spoon the clams and sauce over, discarding any clams that don’t open. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and chives and serve.

Hints from the Chef

Remove the clams from plastic bags as soon as you get them home. Transfer them to a bowl, cover with a damp towel and store in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
Because extra-virgin olive oil loses some of its aroma and flavor when heated to high heat, sauté the vegetables in regular olive oil and toss the freshly cooked pasta with fragrant extra-virgin oil just before serving.

Kristine Kidd, Monterey Bay Aquarium Food Editor

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