- 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
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Loosely wrap the garlic cloves in foil and bake for about 25 minutes, until very soft. Peel the garlic.
- 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.
- 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.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain.
- 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.
Fresh, minerally Italian white.