Toasted sesame oil, ginger and cilantro lend an Asian twist to classic pasta with white clam sauce. Tender Manila clams take only minutes to cook, and their flavorful juices become the base for a terrific sauce. If you are doubling the recipe, use a large pot to accommodate the opening shells. This recipe takes advantage of late summer’s bumper crop of zucchini, but you can enjoy this meal all year long, replacing the zucchini with whatever vegetables you find at the farmers’ market such as asparagus, broccoli rabe or Chinese broccoli.
Spaghetti with Asian-Flavored Clams and Zucchini
7 to 8 oz. (220 to 250 g) spaghetti, preferably multigrain
1 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 large shallot, minced
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/3-inch (9-mm) cubes
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125ml) clam juice or low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 tsp. Asian chili sauce, such sambal oelek or sriracha
2 lb. (1 kg) Manila clams
1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10g) minced fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir well and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes. Drain and then return to the pot. Add the sesame oil and stir to coat. Cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the ginger and shallot and cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 1 minute to warm. Pour in the clam juice, vinegar and chili sauce and bring to a boil. Add the clams and the 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) cilantro. Cover the pan and cook until the clams just open, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Transfer the pasta to individual bowls or a warmed shallow serving bowl. Pour the sauce and clams over the pasta, discarding any clams that did not open. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately. Serves 2.
Find more simple, seasonal weeknight recipes in our cookbook Weeknight Fresh + Fast, by Kristine Kidd.