Linguine with Clams and Zucchini

Linguine al Sugo di Vongole e Zucchine

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Zucchini and seafood make an inspired combination and one that is often found along the coast near Naples. Although linguine in Italian cooking are a relatively rare occurrence compared to their popularity in the US, their shape and sturdiness make them an excellent choice for this sauce.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound small zucchini, washed, scrubbed, and ½-inch diced
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • cup dry white wine
  • 3-4 dozen small fresh clams (depending on size), washed in several changes of cold water
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Method

  1. Put the olive oil in a deep 12-inch skillet and place over medium high heat. Add the onions and Sauté until they turn a rich golden color, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue Sautéing for about 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until tender and lightly colored, about 15 minutes.
  2. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, cover, and place over high heat.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium high under the skillet and add the white wine. When the wine has bubbled away for about a minute add the clams, stir until they are well coated and cover the pan. As soon as all the clams have opened remove the pan from the heat. Don’t be too quick to discard clams that do not open. The more stubborn ones are usually the freshest.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, add the spaghetti, and stir until all the strands are submerged. Cook until the linguine are still very firm, about a minute away from being al dente, drain them, add them to the skillet and place over medium heat. There should be some liquid in the pan from the juice of the clams, but if not add about ¼ cup of water. Add the basil, cover the pan and let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce. The finished dish should have a moist quality to it but if it is too brothy uncover the pan and raise the heat until the excess liquid has evaporated. Serve at once.

Also good (although not quite as successful) with:
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