Mamma mia! When it comes to spaghetti, my favourite ingredients to add are two things: bottarga and clams. Just like a recently married husband and wife, these two super key ingredients are a mighty couple who bring out the best of each other.
For those of you who are unaware, bottarga the Italian name for a delicacy of salted, cured fish roe. It has been enjoyed for hundred of years in Mediterranean cuisine and is typically from the grey mullet or the bluefin tuna (bottarga di tonno), frequently found near coastlines throughout the world. Note that when cooking with bottarga, one not need to add salt as it imparts a salty taste already. More information about bottarga and how to incorporate it into your cooking can be found here.
I have opted to add a small amount of butter in addition to the olive oil to impart a velvety texture to the pasta. When selecting clams, use the smallest ones possible and do choose very fresh clams for the best flavor. To remove sand from clams, soak in a pot of salted water.
Bottarga Spaghetti with Clams
PREP TIME: 15 min | COOK TIME: 15 min | TOTAL TIME: 30 min | YIELDS: 2 servings
- 200 grams of dried spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons of bottarga
- 250g of small, fresh clams
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of dried red chilli flakes
- 1 tablespoons of high quality extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced or minced
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- Pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup of fresh chopped parsley leaves
- 1/3 cup of dry white wine
- Bring water to boil in a pot and add salt. Throw in the spaghetti and cook 1 minute short of ‘well done’ time on packet instructions.
- In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and half the butter on medium heat. Add the sliced/minced garlic and red chilli flakes. Throw in some parsley stems too if you wish.
- Once garlic flakes take on a golden hue colour add the fresh clams to the pan and pour in the white wine. Turn up the heat to high. Add some freshly ground black pepper to the pan. The clams should take about 6-7 minutes to pop open. Add a tablespoon of the bottarga and the parsley leaves.
- The pasta should be now cooked al dente. Drain, reserving a small cup of pasta liquid. Add to the frying pan along with the remaining butter and a dash of fresh lemon juice (optional). Stir together till the pasta is evenly coated with the sauce.
- If the pasta seems a little dry, add some pasta water.
- Serve the pasta in bowls and add more freshly diced parsley, red chilli flakes and bottarga as garnish on top. Feel free to drizzle some high quality extra virgin olive oil on top too.