Spaghetti alle Vongole e Zucchine (Clams and Zucchini)

1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


  • Ingredients
  • 3 pounds Manila clams, well-scrubbed
  • 8 small zucchini (thinly sliced- about 1/8 inch or less)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Crushed red pepper – optional

Which wine do
I pair with this recipe?

Check out our wine pairings to complement this recipe!

Find Out


  1. Remove any clams that are broken, or which do not close immediately if tapped. Soak the clams in cold water for several hours in order to loosen any internal sand.
  2. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, with at least 1/4 inch of olive oil, fry the zucchini until golden brown. You may need to do this in two or more batches; you want them crispy. Place on paper towels to drain, and keep warm. Lightly sprinkle with salt.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  4. In the same large skillet over medium heat sauté the garlic in the olive oil until golden. Add the clams and cover the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the shells open – discard unopened clams. Remove the clams from the skillet with a wire-mesh strainer or slotted spoon. Remove most of them from their shells – saving a few in their shells. Place all shelled clams back into the skillet with the remaining liquid.
  5. Cook the spaghetti until al dente (two minutes less than the package recommends). Drain, and add the pasta to the clam sauce. Add the clams in their shells as well. Cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Distribute the zucchini to the top of each plate. Serve immediately.

Ed's Review

This delicious bowl of wisdom is for the Episcopal Academy class of 2018. You may ask what lessons can be learned from a dish of pasta?  Well, hear me out.

First, contrary to what you have learned, clams do not grow on trees. No, they live happily under the sea. They give up their lives for us. Respect and protect their habitat, especiallly if you want your grandkids to eat their grandkids.

Second, zucchini is a summer vegetable. Thus, if you are eating it in January, it was probably picked six weeks earlier and then shipped a long way. It has less flavor and has the carbon footprint of a lawn mower.  Eat seasonally and locally; it's better for you and better for the environment.

Third, spaghetti was not invented by the Chinese and imported by Marco Polo.  (Pasta came from the Arabs via Sicily.) Fake News is not a new phenomenon.   If you do your homework, you will win, and fake news will lose.

Finally, enjoy this delicious bowl of wisdom with a glass of wine.  If you can vote, you can handle a glass of the world's oldest beverage (parental guidance suggested).  But note: Although Italians are famous for enjoying their wine, they have the lowest alcohol consumption rate per capita in Europe. Consume wine in moderation or it will consume you!

With that, as my grandfather Filippo often said, "studiare sempre;" Always study. And as Spock said, "Live long and prosper," which will be easier if you follow the above advice.

Sebastian, we are all so proud of you! Congrats on a job well done! Go ‘Gate!

Buon Appetito!

Edwin Garrubbo

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Guida Garrubbo Book

Garrubbo Guide Book

The Importance of
Eating Italian

The ultimate guide to Italian food, wine, and culture!