Introduction: Conchigliette (Little Seashells) in Clam Carbonara Sauce

About: I am a 82-year-old self-proclaimed Chef who has spent most of his life in the hotel/resort tourism industry. I have traveled up and down the east coast of the United States from New York to Key West, and from …

After combining some of my favorite ingredients - foods like bacon and butter and clams and anchovies and black olives, and spices and herbs like peperoncino (red pepper flakes), and oregano and fresh parsley from my garden - I combined them all in a bacon-clam sauce last night and enjoyed one of the best dinners I have eaten in a long time!

Step 1: INGREDIENTS (2 Servings)

  1. 2 cups (about 1/2 box) uncooked *small pasta shells (Conchigliette)
  2. 4 strips thick bacon
  3. 1 can (6-1/;2 ounces chopped clams
  4. 2 TBS unsalted butter
  5. 3 anchovy fillets
  6. 1/4 cup sliced black olives, drained
  7. 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 2 TBS fresh parsley, minced
  9. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  10. 1/4 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper
  11. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (the peperoncino)
  12. 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  13. 1/4 cup (well rounded) shredded Parmesan cheese

*Note: You can use any pasta that you like for this dish; spaghetti, fettuccine, penne., etc. I prefer to use the little shells because the become filled with the sauce once added to the pan.


  1. Since things move rather fast once you begin cooking a recipe like this, I like to have all of my ingredients ready to use the moment I need them, so . . .
  2. Begin by preparing the pasta according to package instructions. While the pasta is cooking:
  3. Chop or slice the bacon into small pieces (about 1/4 to 1/2" pieces) and fry (see next step). Once cooked, set aside on paper towels to drain (forgot to take a photo here)!
  4. Peel and mince the garlic; set it aside.
  5. Open the clams; drain and reserve the juice, and set both aside.
  6. Combine the dry herbs and spices; set aside.
  7. Open the container of anchovy fillets; extract the ones you are going to use and set aside (no need to rinse them) - however quickly cover and refrigerate the ones you are not going to use (a small glass jar is excellent here).
  8. Finely chop fresh parsley and set aside.
  9. Measure out and set aside the 1/2 cup of cream, the Parmesan cheese, and the black olives.

Please Note: No salt has been added to this recipe. The anchovies are salty enough.


While the pasta is cooking:

  1. Fry the sliced bacon in a non-stick frying pay or heavy cast iron skillet (my choice) until it is nice and brown; then remove it from the pan and set aside on a paper towel. Drain the bacon fat from the pan (no need to wipe the pan clean) and save for future use (I refrigerate it).
  2. Add the butter to the used pan and allow it to melt over medium heat (just melt it; don't let it get brown).
  3. When it is melted, add the anchovy fillets and mash them into butter with a wooden spoon.
  4. Next, add the red pepper flakes, stir, and then add the rest of the spices and herbs, the minced garlic, the clams and the clam juice.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the cream and stir in the Parmesan cheese, sliced black olives, and pieces of bacon.
  7. Add the drained and cooked pasta to the sauce and allow it to cook for 2 or 3 minutes (until heated thru).
  8. Remove pan from heat and serve (see next step).

Step 4: TIME TO EAT . . .

Oh, so delicious! That's all I can think to say about this dish. Although you can make it without the anchovies and the garlic and the red pepper flakes, you will never be able to enjoy the wonderful blend of flavors created by blending these ingredients together in a sweet creamy sauce!


(This recipe was inspired by Taste of Home's Fettuccine with Bacon and Clam sauce, and many other similar recipes, but I think mine is unique)!


I have evaluated the nutritional values of this recipe to the best of my ability using the MyFitNessPal recipe analyzer. (A bit rich, but Oh, so good)!