Linguini with Clams, Bacon and Fennel

by Pamela

linguini with clams, clam recipes, cooking clams, shellfish, relationship advice

Three basic ingredients come together to make a spectacularly delicious meal of linguini with clams. Clams, Bacon and Fennel – what more do you need?

Seriously. I can’t think of anything else to add to this ingredient list except for maybe….some wine? Oh yeah, that’s in there too. Duh! This is me in the kitchen we’re talking about.

I’m working on three lovely weeks of just the dog and I here at the house, and while I shouldn’t say it…I will. IT’S.BEEN.HEAVEN. Craig is out traipsing around the world and Rizzo and I are here brewing coffee for the contractors that are in and out of the house and loving every minute of doing what we want to do, when we want to do it. Including some of our own remodeling ideas. Yes, leave me alone with the greatest builder ever and the girl’s gonna make some executive decisions about ish she wants around the house. Suck it if you don’t like it.

Linguini with clams is an easy shellfish dish

The other fun thing is cooking and eating what I want to eat, when I want to eat it. Remember when I told you about Pamie McHippo Butt? Well, I’ve been eating much healthier items (mostly plants, a little meat and a whole lot less of everything) and things are looking much better in the backside department – if I do say so myself.

This linguini with clams recipe was a little reward to myself. But even this recipe is pretty healthy, as opposed to some linguini with clam recipes that force the linguini and clams to band together in an attempt to save themselves from drowning in some kind of buttery fattening sauce.

A shellfish dish to feed a crowd

I’m a big fan of shellfish, which you’ve probably noticed in my numerous shrimp recipes. Although I do have a singular post on cooking clams. And there are also one or two scallop recipes floating amongst my ramblings too. But I’ve been really bad about posting clam recipes. It’s not that I don’t like them…quite the contrary. But Craig won’t touch them. You see, we (as in the Royal We) had this little itty bitty bout of shellfish food poisoning several years ago, and he just can’t let it go.

I made one of my favorite clam recipes, that we both devoured. A few hours later, Craig found himself not so lovingly caressing the commode and making noises that I thought could only come from zombies. While Craig is still convinced I was trying to kill him, I have to remind him of those clams that he ate that weren’t quite as open as all the others were. (If a clam or mussel isn’t W-I-D-E open, begging you to eat him/her…don’t eat it, toss it.)

Linguini with clams is an easy one pot meal

Cooking clams, or most shellfish for that matter, isn’t difficult at all. The first thing you want to do with them is make sure that they spit out any sand that may still be in them. No, you can’t burp a clam like you do a baby…but sort of. Drop the clams into a container big enough to hold them. Sprinkle in a good healthy tablespoon of flour or cornmeal then fill the container with water. Give the water a little stir and pop it all into the refrigerator. Just drain them and give everything a quick rinse before cooking them. See? Easy Peasy!

So what are you waiting for? Shellfish are an easy protein that cook up quick and are delicious beyond belief. Plus, this linguini with clams couldn’t be easier. Besides, it’s got wine AND bacon in it…that almost makes it mandatory to make. Just make sure those little shells are wide open with the clams saying “eat me…eat me.” Okay…maybe I poured a little more wine for myself than for the recipe.

Linguini with Clams, Bacon and Fennel
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Linguini with clams is an easy shellfish recipe that's a one pot meal that can be made in minutes.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 1 Pound Linguini
  • 4 Slices Thick Cut Bacon (diced)
  • ½ Fennel Bulb (diced small)
  • 6 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 2 Pounds Clams (cleaned)
  • 1 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Tablespoon Pernod (optional)
  • Fennel Fronds (chopped)
  • Juice of Half of Lemon
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  1. Cook the linguini in a large pot of salted water until just under al dente.
  2. Reserve 1 cup of the water and drain the pasta and set aside.
  3. Heat a large pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat and scatter bacon in the pan.
  4. Cook bacon until it's almost done and drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.
  5. Finish cooking bacon and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
  6. Add the fennel and garlic to the pan and slightly reduce the heat.
  7. Cook for 5 minutes, just until fennel and garlic soften.
  8. Add clams to the pan along with the white wine. Cover and cook 5-7 minutes (or until clams open.
  9. Remove lid from pan and take out any clams that didn't open and toss them out.
  10. Turn heat back up to medium and add linguini and bacon to the pan.
  11. If you need more liquid in the pan, add some of the reserved pasta water (start with ½ cup).
  12. Toss to coat linguini and add the Pernod to the pan.
  13. Cook for 2 minutes then remove from heat.
  14. Squeeze lemon juice over pan and sprinkle with fennel fronds.
  15. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  16. Toss and serve with lemon wedges.
This isn't a linguini with clams recipe that has a lot of sauce, in fact there's really no sauce since the slightly undercooked noodles go into the pan and absorb the juices to finish cooking. So don't be alarmed.
I only used ½ pound of linguini, so that the ratio of clams to pasta was greater. But using a full pound of linguini is the correct amount.
You could use rice noodles in place of the linguini to lighten the dish up a bit more.


Welcome to My Man's Belly! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the site or if there's a recipe you'd like to see here. Have a great day.


Belinda @zomppa May 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Love shellfish – this is a wonderful combination! I bet the flavors come right through.

sippitysup April 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Yes maam! GREG

Pamela April 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm

No that’s the respect I’m looking for. Thanks Greg!

angela@spinachtiger April 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

Pam, I love clams and pasta (and with bacon no less). I can smell and taste this.

Pamela April 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Thanks Angela,

I know some people think bacon and seafood don’t mix, but they really do more often than you would think. And the smell….SWOON!

Cookin Canuck April 30, 2013 at 9:25 am

I love that you kept the ingredient list simple, letting the flavors of the bacon, clams and fennel shine through. I could eat about four bowls of this.

Pamela April 30, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Hi Dara,

With ingredients with this much flavor, there’s no point in mucking it up with too many other things. Oh, and I did eat 4 bowl…for 4 different meals, but I got to eat the whole thing myself. 🙂

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