Makes 5 servings
This capellini and clam dish is just a little different than the usual spaghetti with clam sauce. Bottarga is smoked, dry-cured tuna roe and it adds a delicious new twist to this dish. The preserved Meyer lemons add a little aromatic acidity to balance the clams and bottarga. If you can’t find bottarga in a gourmet grocery, look for it online. Should you use only part of the bottarga, just freeze the rest. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in a zipper-lock bag. It will last indefinitely.
Preserved Lemon Zest
- 4 Meyer lemons
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 cups clam juice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (optional)
- 1 gal water
- 6 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 lb dried capellini
- 2 lb Manila clams
- 1 oz shaved bottarga
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- To make the preserved lemon: Peel the yellow zest off the outside of the lemons with a vegetable peeler and cut into julienne, or remove in strips using a zester. Place the zest in a nonreactive bowl.
- Sprinkle the zest with the salt and add the juice of 2 of the lemons. Let sit for 6 to 8 hours. Rinse before using.
- To make the clam broth: In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over moderate heat, add the shallots and garlic, and sauté slowly until aromatic.
- Add the clam juice and reduce by half. Add the white wine and reduce by half. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. The broth is now ready to steam the clams in.
- To make the pasta: You will need to have the rest of the ingredients for the preparation ready so that when the pasta is cooked you will be able to assemble it quickly. Combine the breadcrumbs, if using, with the melted butter and stir to thoroughly coat.
- Add the clams to the broth and steam open over medium heat, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the clams. Discard any clams that do not open. Remove three-quarters of the clams from the shells and discard the shells; return the clam meat to the broth. Reserve the remaining clams in their shells for garnish.
- Meanwhile, bring the water and salt to a boil in a large pot. Boil the capellini according to the package directions. When the pasta is al dente, drain it, and place the pasta directly into the hot broth with the clams.
- Add the rinsed preserved lemons, bottarga, and parsley. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and pour the broth over it. Garnish with the clams in their shells. Sprinkle with buttered bread crumbs, if desired.