Angel Hair Pasta with Clams, Cherry Tomatoes, and Basil

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Perfect for summer! Angel hair pasta with shallots, garlic, chopped clams, cherry tomatoes, and basil

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Hello summer gardeners, have your tomatoes come in yet? Our plants are just beginning to bear ripe tomatoes, and if I can just keep the hornworms at bay (Constant Vigilance!) we’ll have a wondrous crop.

Our basil got a late start but is now happily bursting out of the raised beds, requiring daily snipping. Those two—tomatoes and basil—such perfect partners in the garden, and on the plate.

Angel Hair Pasta with Clams and Cherry Tomatoes

Here’s a quick and easy, kid-pleasing angel hair pasta dish we made recently with chopped canned clams and cherry tomatoes and basil from the garden. I say “kid pleasing” because my 16-year old nephew gobbled it up and came back for more. He’s sort of a big kid now, but I think that younger ones would like this too.

Angel Hair Pasta with Clams, Cherry Tomatoes, and Basil Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 3

Save time by prepping the shallots, garlic, tomatoes, and basil while the water for the pasta is heating up.


  • 30 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half'
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 6-ounce cans chopped clams (and their juices)
  • 8 ounces capellini or angel hair pasta
  • Salt for the pasta water


1 Place sliced cherry tomatoes in a bowl. Toss with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2 Tbsp of the chopped fresh basil. Set aside.

2 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (4 quarts of water, 2 Tbsp salt). While the water is coming to a boil, prep the shallots and garlic and start the sauce.

3 Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and cook until translucent, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chopped clams with their juices. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer at a low temperature while the pasta is cooking.

4 Once the salted pasta water comes to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook, uncovered at high heat until al dente, no more than 2 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Add the 1/4 cup of pasta water to the sauce in the sauté pan.

5 Add the pasta to the cherry tomato mixture and toss to combine. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil.

Serve immediately.

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Angel Hair Pasta with Clams and Cherry Tomatoes

Showing 4 of 8 Comments / Reviews

  • Jessica

    Do you have a cookbook out, or any plans for publishing one? I have loved all your recipes, and would absolutely buy such a cookbook if you published one!

  • Lindsay Eckhart

    I’ve just tried making the pasta for dinner last night and it’s a total hit! It’s easy to prepare and my husband even praised me for the delicious pasta thanks to your recipe =)

  • Linda

    OMG! My husband oohed and aahed with almost every bite. (To quote him: “I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to get used to the noises I’m making.”) The perfect summer dish, especially wonderful with the fresh basil growing profusely in a large pot on our deck. I didn’t need to add the pasta water; the clam juice was quite enough. And ~3 T. of oil was sufficient. Thank you yet again, Elise, for providing simple, elegant, easily prepared and utterly delicious recipes for your audience.

  • Jane

    I’ll be making this with shrimp this evening, but there will also be Chardonnay and fresh squeezed lemon juice involved…and, what the heck, lots of Capers, too, why not? :-)
    Thank you, Elise!

  • R. Kendall

    I don’t know much about the local bird life where you live, but here in northwest Tennessee, the most effective natural way to keep hornworms off of the tomatoes is to put a nesting box for Eastern Bluebirds smack in the middle of the garden.

    The Bluebirds are insectivores and will not touch your vegetables (unlike chickens or guineas) but during nesting season they will strip your plants utterly bare of anything crawling that looks remotely like a caterpillar- it’s an impressive sight to see when a tiny bluebird nabs and butchers one plump green hornworm to feed all four chicks in a nest!

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Angel Hair Pasta with Clams and Cherry TomatoesAngel Hair Pasta with Clams, Cherry Tomatoes, and Basil