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Pappardelle with Clams, Turmeric and Habaneros

"I've always loved the flavors of garlic and turmeric with shellfish," says Fatty Crab's Zakary Pelaccio. Here, he warms the flavorings in olive oil before adding fresh basil, clam juice and a splash of gin, then tosses it all with littleneck clams and pappardelle.


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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • 8 large garlic cloves, unpeeled

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 2 habanero chiles—1 chopped with seeds, 1 seeded and thinly sliced

  • 2 cups packed whole basil leaves plus 1/2 cup chopped basil

  • 1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black pepper

  • 1/4 cup gin

  • 1 cup bottled clam juice

  • 4 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed

  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 3/4 pound pappardelle

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Loosely wrap the garlic cloves in foil and bake for about 25 minutes, until very soft. Peel the garlic.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic, turmeric and chopped habanero and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the basil leaves, black pepper, gin and clam juice, cover and cook over low heat until the liquid has reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Strain the reduction into a large pot, pressing on the solids.
  3. Bring the strained liquid to a boil. Add the clams, cover and cook, shaking the pot a few times, until they start to open, 3 minutes; as the clams open, transfer them to a bowl and keep covered. When all of the clams have opened, boil the broth over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime zest and lime juice.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain.
  5. Add the pappardelle to the pot with the reduced clam broth and toss to coat. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing well over moderate heat, until melted. Transfer the pappardelle to bowls. Top with the clams, chopped basil and sliced habanero and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Fresh, minerally Italian white.

Contributed By Photo © Cedric Angeles Published December 2011

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