This is a delightful summer dish inspired by many dishes from my former line cook days. However, we were never this generous with the clams in our pasta dishes. Think of this dish as clams with a little pasta there to soak up the delicious broth. It makes two hearty portions for dinner for those who love clams. (Like my husband and me!)
Our garden is bursting with tomatoes and zucchini right now, and this recipe is perfect to incorporate those. I love the sweet smokiness that Aleppo pepper lends to the dish. It is not spicy, so don’t fret if heat intimidates you a bit. Crushed red pepper is discretional. I always add a little to start,about a teaspoon, but then when I have served my husband and baby daughter I add a whole lot more, and toss in the pan before serving myself.
2# Manilla clams
4-6 oz dried spaghetti
4 oz pancetta
1 oz olive oil
1.5 cup cherry tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise, and then half inch pieces
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1 shallot, minced
4 oz pinot grigio or dry white wine
1 cup of mixed herbs (I used chopped basil and chives, and picked parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T Crushed Aleppo pepper flake
Crushed rep pepper flake (optional)
- Cook spaghetti according to directions on package so that it is al dente. You want it very slightly under done to your preference as it will cook a bit more with the clams. Rinse under cold water and set aside. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Preheat large skillet. Render pancetta over low heat.
- Add olive oil. Let warm briefly, and then add garlic and shallots to sweat.
- Increase heat to medium low or medium. Add zucchini, and tomatoes and let lightly brown. Sprinkle with salt, and add Aleppo pepper, and crushed red pepper if desired. Stir occasionally so garlic and shallots do not burn. Adjust the heat if necessary. You want your vegetables to get some color, but you do not want anything smoking or burning.
- Add clams, and then the white wine. Clams should be spread out evenly to steam. They will start to pop open.
- When the clams are almost all open add the pasta, and a little of the pasta water. (about 4 oz.) Stir with tongs. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the remainder of the clams pop open. Pasta should start to coat lightly in the sauce. If pasta does not look saucy enough add a little more of the pasta water until it is the right consistency. There should be a little sauce pooling in the bottom of the pan, but it should not be soupy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn off heat. Add fresh herbs and toss.
- Substitute or add any other summer veg. Leftover grilled corn, cut off the cob, or sliced grilled peppers or Hatch chilies would be fantastic in this.
- If you’d like to have the dish be heavier on the pasta to clam ratio, to perhaps feed more people, try doubling everything but the clams. You will however need to cook everything in a bigger pot.
- Omit the pasta. Serve with crusty bread instead.