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Clams with Hot Italian Sausage

This dish makes a lovely appetizer or a delicious entrée. Serve these Manila Clams with Sausage with some grilled bread to sop up all the goodness.
This recipe has been edited from the original version published 8/26/2015.
Inspired by John Sundstom's recipe for Clams and Chorizo in Cooking Against the Grain.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time16 mins
Cleaning clams20 mins
Total Time56 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Appetizer, Clams with Hot Italian Sausage
Servings: 4 main course servings
Author: Anna


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, sliced in ½" rounds
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup dry white wine*, See Gr8 Tip
  • 4 pounds Manila clams, or any small clams, in the shell, that are available fresh or frozen
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more, depending on your heat tolerance
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley, divided


  • Start at least a half hour ahead of time to clean the clams by putting them in a large bowl and covering them with fresh, cold water. Let them sit for about 20 minutes. Then drain and proceed.
  • In a large sauté pan with a cover, heat the oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the sausage. *See Gr8 Note
  • Cook, stirring, until the sausage is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook about 1 minute, until the fragrance begins to release.
  • Pour in the wine and bring to a boil scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 
  • Then add the clams, hot pepper flakes, and 2 Tablespoons of the parsley and stir to combine.
  • Cover the pan tightly and cook for 6 to 8 minutes until clams are opened. Discard any clams that don't open.
  • Serve directly from the pan or transfer to a serving bowl, be sure to get all the juices! Garnish with the remaining Tablespoon of parsley.
  • Serve with a glass of white wine and crusty Italian bread. This could also be served over pasta. Just add one cup of the hot pasta water at the end of cooking. Stir and pour over the drained pasta.


Gr8 Note:

If you are using turkey Italian sausage, you may need to use an additional Tablespoon of olive oil, since there is less fat in the turkey sausage than in classic pork sausage.
This is also easy to double if you are serving a crowd, just make sure your pan is large enough.

Gr8 Tip:

If you plan on drinking white wine with the meal, use the same wine in the dish. This is a Gr8 way to get the optimal flavor from both the clams and the wine.

Gr8 Do-Ahead Tip:

You can clean the clams and chop everything up early in the day and store in the refrigerator. When you're ready for dinner, just pop it all in the pan and amaze your friends and family with a delicious meal!
To store the cleaned clams, put them in a bowl in the refrigerator covered with a damp towel.
Tried this recipe?Mention @Great8Friends or tag #gr8food!