Inspired by a recipe from one of the Frugal Gourmet cookbooks, this dish calls for canned clams and dried linguine or spaghetti, all of which I always keep in the pantry, but fresh littlenecks and fresh pasta would be lovely, too. Just remember to reduce the cooking time if you use fresh ingredients. Serves 4.
1 lb linguine or spaghetti (I use dried pasta from the pantry)2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 6-oz cans chopped clams -- drain one and reserve the liquid from the other
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch, dissolved in 3 Tbsp water
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano or asiago cheese, or more to taste
In a very large nonstick frying pan over low-medium heat, sauté onion, celery and pepper in 2 Tbsp olive oil, for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and zucchini, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add clams and liquid from one can, stock, oregano and black pepper, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Increase heat to high; add tomato and mushrooms, and cook for 3 minutes or until vegetables are just beginning to get tender.
Drain the pasta and add it to the pan. Stir well to combine. Cook for an additional minute or two, until the vegetables are done.
If the sauce is not thick enough (the starch from the pasta usually will thicken the sauce nicely), at the last minute, add the arrowroot solution a few drops at a time right into the boiling liquid in the pan, and stir until mixture is desired thickness (stay right with it; this will happen very quickly, and you don't want it to turn to goo).
Transfer pasta to a platter, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve hot.