Linguini with Clams, Mussels and Linguica

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Created by Holly Brown, Chief Foodie at The Brown Lounge in Seattle, WA.

“This dish is a wonderful combination of shellfish, spicy sausage, pasta, wine, garlic and cilantro. The prep is as entertaining as the dish itself and makes for wonderful dinner party theatre.” Linguica, a smokey Portuguese cured pork sausage marinated in wine, garlic, and other spices, adds a special kick to this recipe.

Linguini with Clams, Mussels and Linguica

Yield: 6-8 people


  • 1-1.5 lbs. clams
  • 1-1.5 lbs. mussels
  • 1 lb. linguica (Portuguese) sausage
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1-1.5 lbs. linguini
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese
  • Red pepper flakes

Cooking Directions

  1. Soak clams and mussels in salted water for half an hour. Remove beards. Remove those with open shells.
  2. Slice the linguica on an angle about ¼ inch thick
  3. Chop onion and garlic
  4. In an extra large skillet (one with a lid), add 3-4T olive oil and place on medium heat. Add linguica and cook for about 10 minutes until sausage is lightly browned but tender do not over-cook
  5. Add chopped onions and garlic and continue cooking for another 5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Stir mixture. You can add a little more olive oil if the mixture becomes too dry.
  6. While mixture is sautéing, bring water to boil and cook pasta al dente (cooked but firm) usually 10-12 minutes
  7. Drain shellfish from water and add to sausage/onion mixture (right on top). Add wine, butter, and ½ of chopped cilantro over shellfish. Cover with a lid. Cook for approx. 10-15 minutes on medium heat. Shells will open. Do not over-cook.
  8. When pasta is done, drain but do not rinse. After draining in a colander, put pasta back into the pot and stir in 3-4T of olive oil. This prevents sticking.
  9. Pour shellfish mixture (everything including all juices) into pot of drained pasta and mix together
  10. Serve mixture of pasta and shellfish (use tongs and large spoon) on each plate with a healthy serving of shellfish on top of the pasta. Make sure you ladle juice in pot over each serving. Garnish each serving with 2 lemon wedges, remaining cilantro, and red pepper flakes (lightly).

Note: do not eat or force open any shells that remain closed.

How to green this recipe

  • Use recommended shellfish According to the seafood buying tips recently offered by Jeannie Moulton, the Smart Seafood Guide 2011 recommends U.S.-farmed mussels and U.S. wild hand-raked or farmed clams. Seafood Watch also has excellent online tools to help you find the healthiest seafood choices.
  • Buy local I am a big fan of reducing food miles and almost every town in America has a local pasta company and vegetable farm. Try to find much of the produce and the pasta for this recipe at your farmer’s market, local Italian deli or health(y) food market.
  • Buy all natural meat Look for sausage (all meat) that is raised without antibiotics or hormones, has no added nitrates or nitrites and was humanely raised. Again, you may be able to find a local meat source at your farmer’s market, local Italian deli or health(y) food market. Barcelos Linguica sells all natural linguica online if you can’t find it locally.

wine pairing suggestion

2009 Waxwing Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
The 2009 Waxwing Pinot Noir is a two-vineyard blend that yielded a superbly balanced and focused wine. Medium bodied and bursting with delicious cranberry and cherry flavors, it pairs well with shellfish, salmon, roasted chicken and smoked meats. Bottled after fourteen months in one year old French oak barrels.
Production: three barrels (82 cases)

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