In Italian cuisine, bread and spaghetti is like what daal and chawal (rice and lentils) is to Indians. This comfort food is also probably what you mostly order on your outings to your favourite Italian restaurant. Cooking it ‘al dente’ might be tricky but it comes with some experiments in the kitchen.
If you are in the mood for some Italian today then try out this amazing Spaghetti with Clams and Crispy Bread Crumbs recipe by Chef Akhilesh Jha, Fresc Co, New Delhi.
1/4 cup – Panko crumbs
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp – Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 – Large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 dozen – Manila clams or cockles, scrubbed
1 cup – Dry white wine
1 pound – Spaghetti
1 tsp – Finely grated lemon zest
3 tbsp – Fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp – Finely grated mullet bottarga*
1 tsp – Crushed red pepper
2 tbsp – Finely chopped thyme
2 tbsp – Finely chopped rosemary
2 tbsp – Finely chopped parsley
* In a medium skillet, combine panko with 1 tbsp of olive oil and toast over moderate heat, tossing until golden brown for about 3 mins. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small bowl.
* In a deep skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant for about 1 min. Add the clams and wine and simmer over moderately high heat until the wine is slightly reduced and the clams just start to open.
* Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
* Add the pasta, cooking water, lemon zest and juice, red pepper and herbs to the clams and toss over moderately high heat until the pasta is well coated and the clams are completely open, for about 2 mins. Discard clams that do not open.
* Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the toasted panko crumbs on top.
Bottarga is the roe of tuna or mullet that has been salted, pressed and dried; it can be grated or shaved paper-thin.