As every chef know, the Christmas holiday is a season packed with enough demands to drive any chef to the edge. As a result, the hours are long, the stress is high and most chefs miss both sleep and meals.

That’s why a favorite winter meal of chefs from coast to coast is Vongole Natale Italiani or Italian Christmas Clams. Originally from the esteemed kitchens of Rome, it contains only three readily available main ingredients: pasta, clams and anchovies.

The clams provide a no-effort but savory sauce that both warms and invigorates. A warm and steaming bowl between shifts just might be your best support this holiday season.

Italian Christmas Clams


  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced 
  • 4 anchovies, sliced 
  • 2 Lbs Taylor Manila Clams, rinsed
  • ¼ teaspoon peperoncino hot chili peppers
  • ¼ teaspoon dry oregano 
  • 1 pound linguine pasta


  1. ¾ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta.
  3. In a large straight-sided skillet, heat 4 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Add sliced garlic and cook until sizzling, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add anchovies and stir until the anchovies break up and dissolve into the oil, about 2 minutes. 
  6. Add the clams to the skillet, along with the peperoncino and oregano.
  7. Ladle in about 2 cups pasta water.
  8. Bring to a simmer and cover until clams open, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  9. As the clams open, remove to a bowl.
  10. Meanwhile, add linguine to pasta water.
  11. Remove clams from shells.
  12. When are all the clams removed, increase heat to high and add ½ cup of the parsley.
  13. Cook until reduced by half.
  14. Meanwhile, shuck the clams. 
  15. When the linguine is al dente and the sauce is reduced, add the pasta directly to the sauce and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  16. Cook and toss until the pasta is coated with the sauce.
  17. Add shucked clams and remaining 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.
  18. Cook a minute more to blend the flavors and serve.