Zucchini Pasta with White Clam Sauce

“You can Never Lose your Family.”*


Clam sauce always, always reminds me of a special movie night I shared with my mom. It was just the two of us on a wintry night. We tossed a giant antipasto salad (something similar to Italian Hoagie Salad and cooked linguine and clam sauce together. (My mom is a pro at clam sauce; hers always has the perfect amount of garlic! Of course it does; she’s Sicilian.) Then we settled under a blanket in the den, The Godfather on the TV, plates nestled in our laps. I’m not saying that’s the only way to enjoy pasta with clam sauce—I’m just saying it’s the best way.

Total time: 25–30 minutes


Clam Sauce

  • cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 (10-ounce) cans whole baby clams
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or lemon juice
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 4 teaspoons ghee


  • 2–2½ pounds zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  • crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper


  • spiralizer, colander


Start the sauce

Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Smash and peel the garlic cloves and add them to the oil.

Make the pasta

Julienne the zucchini with the spiralizer. Place the noodles in a colander and toss them with the salt until the strands are lightly coated. Set the colander in the sink to drain while you prep the other ingredients.

Make the sauce

To the pot with the garlic oil, add the clams, about half their juice, and the champagne vinegar. Increase the heat to medium high and simmer gently for 10–15 minutes. While the sauce simmers, mince the parsley and toast the pine nuts.

Toast the pine nuts

Warm a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the pine nuts and toast until golden, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Transfer them to a plate to cool.

Cook the noodles

Reheat the skillet you used for the pine nuts over medium-high heat. Rinse the zucchini noodles under running water, drain well, and squeeze them dry in a clean dish towel. Add them to the heated pan and stir-fry 2–3 minutes until hot.

The big finish

Taste the clam sauce and add salt, if necessary. Pour the clam sauce over the noodles, add the parsley, and toss to combine.

To serve

Divide the noodles and clam sauce among individual serving bowls, top with 1 teaspoon ghee, then sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes, ground black pepper, and toasted pine nuts.