John Hinterberger’s Clam Spaghetti

"One of the most treasured recipes around from the restaurant reviewer of the Seattle Times who published it only three times. He now owns a sauce company to produce the sauce. Watch the red chili pepper; he means one of those little things that comes in a tin, not the ones braided together. Better to use 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes. I’ve changed the recipe a bit, and take the oregano times 1.5, the basil X 2, use 2 cups of sliced mushrooms and use wine to create a sauce of ample quantity; the better so sop up with wedges of focaccia. I also double the parmesan and prefer the dried to fresh cheese. I use 1/2 to 1 can of olives and use fresh basil; if using dried make sure you use extra wine for reconstitution. I am a bit more generous with clams and juice, as I divide the 51 oz containers commonly found in bulk stores into 4 parts, and freeze. This means the clams and juice equal 12.75 oz."
photo by Amber C. photo by Amber C.
photo by Amber C.
Ready In:




  • Put 1/2 cup olive oil in a large cast iron skillet and heat slowly. Add the dried chili pepper, chopped onion and garlic cloves. Cook slowly for about 30 minutes or until the onions are very soft.
  • Add to pan the basil, oregano, salt and pepper, wine and liquid from the clams. Continue to simmer until some of the liquid is reduced down. Keep warm. In the meantime, sauté the mushrooms in a tablespoon of butter and add to the mixture.
  • Bring kettle of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook spaghetti until just al dente (about 5 minutes).
  • As pasta is cooking, add the clams, parsley and 3 tablespoons of cheese to the sauce and simmer at low heat for about five minutes. Add olives.
  • After draining the pasta, stir into the sauce and toss. Sprinkle generously with grated cheese and serve directly from the skillet.

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  1. Probably my all time favorite recipe..............cannot serve it to enough guests!! Thanks John!!
  2. Delicious!!! I chose to make this for Spring PAC 2010 because I wanted to try something that I normally wouldn't. This is a very flavorful dish with a little kick to it. The clams fit in nicely without overpowering the dish. I used fresh basil, chili flakes, and 2 cups mushrooms as suggested. I already had 2 cans of clams that were 6 oz so I just used those and it turned out fine. I ended up not using all the noodles and served with focaccia bread. My DH and DM said this is a keeper! Thanks :)


I'm a born and raised city girl who moved to a small town, and love it! I now live in Lexington KY, and I am trying to adjust back to the larger town feel. One good thing...more restaurants! I love to cook, and learned from my father, who passed away 4 years ago. He cooked by throwing things together, and it always tasted great. I love to experiment in the kitchen, and am thrilled when my husband calls me a good cook. Really, I just love to do it!
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