Angel Hair Pasta with Clams, Cherry Tomatoes, and Basil

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

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


  • 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.

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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.

angel-hair-clams-cherry-tomato-method-3 angel-hair-clams-cherry-tomato-method-4

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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  • 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!

    • Elise

      Hi Jessica, thank you for your vote of confidence!

  • 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!

    • Elise

      What a great idea! What I tend to do is 1) pick them off by hand, 2) get frustrated and spray the whole tree with BT, which is organic and doesn’t hurt anything except the caterpillar, and 3) place any praying mantises I find around the yard in the middle of the vegetable garden.

      • Susan Walter

        Don’t go too crazy with the Bt. It will infect any caterpillar, so not just your target, but in fact any soft bodied invertebrate, including the caterpillars of lovely butterflies that you enjoy seeing in the garden and whose caterpillars aren’t munching your veg. R. Kendall’s suggestion is terrific. Any nesting bird will feed on invertebrates when it has babies, even if the adult birds are seed eaters.