Clams and pasta are a marriage made in Italian heaven. Here is a different version from the traditional garlic and oil. It is especially good for people who have a hard time digesting garlic, because the garlic is sliced and can be removed after cooking. Do not forfeit the flavor of garlic in your cooking, however; crush the cloves, remembering how many you put in, and then fish them out. Dry or fresh fettuccine would both be delicious for this recipe; just keep in mind the different cooking times of the two pastas.
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pot
- 24 littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 6 tablespoons -extra--virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 2 leeks, halved lengthwise, white and -light--green parts thinly sliced
- 12 ounces zucchini, sliced into -¼--inch--thick -half--moons
- 1 pound dry fettuccine or fresh
- ¼ teaspoon crushed -red--pepper flakes
- 2 cups San Marzano canned whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
- ¼ loosely packed cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. Shuck the clams, reserving shucking juices. Strain the juices. Roughly chop the clam meat.
In a large skillet, over -medium–high heat, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic. Once the garlic is sizzling, add the leeks and zucchini. Cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Once you start cooking the vegetables, begin to cook the pasta.
Season the vegetables with the salt and crushed red pepper. Add the tomatoes, the reserved clam juices, and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.
When the pasta is al dente, drain and add to the sauce, along with the chopped clams. Add the basil, and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce.
Remove the skillet from the heat, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, toss, and serve hot.