At Chicago’s Roister restaurant, chef Andrew Brochu puts a delicious spin on classic pasta with clam sauce, adding a spicy green chile ragout, fresh herbs, crème fraîche and lime juice.
Slideshow:More Seafood Pasta Recipes
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
1/4 cup snipped chives
2 small poblano chiles—stemmed, seeded and diced
1 Cubanelle pepper—stemmed, seeded and diced
2 ounces shishito peppers, stemmed and thinly sliced
3 shallots—2 thinly sliced and 1 minced
4 garlic cloves—2 minced and 2 crushed
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 teaspoons each black peppercorns, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups bottled clam juice
3 1/2 dozen mixed clams, such as Manila, razor and littleneck, scrubbed
12 ounces pipe rigate or mezze rigatoni pasta
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons crème fraîche
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Wasabi masago (wasabi caviar), for garnish
How to Make It
In a blender, combine 1/2 cup of the olive oil with 1/4 cup of the mint and the parsley and chives and puree until smooth. Strain the herb oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing on the solids; discard the solids in the sieve.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until nearly smoking. Add the poblanos, Cubanelle, shishitos and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until blistered in spots and just softened, about 3 minutes. Add the minced shallot, minced garlic and capers and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool slightly, then stir in the herb oil.
In a large pot, toast the mixed spices over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the sliced shallots and crushed garlic, then carefully add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the clam juice and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover and steam over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the clams open, about 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the clams to a large rimmed baking sheet to cool slightly, then remove the meat from the shells; discard the shells and any clams that do not open. Strain the clam cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; discard the solids.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well.
Wipe out the pot. Add the butter and cook until melted. Add the clams, chile mixture, pasta, crème fraîche and 1/2 cup of the strained clam cooking liquid and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until hot, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and the remaining 1/2 cup of mint and season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowls, garnish with more mint and the wasabi masago and serve right away.
The prepared chile mixture can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.
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