This is a relatively simple gourmet pasta dish that is simply gorgeous to serve. The hint of peppery sweet ginger, and the seaweed umami combined with the crispy floral tartness of capers, nutty brown butter, and chewy clams on top of a velvety textured pasta mingle as if they were childhood friends who haven't seen each other in a while: exciting, comfortable, and ready to make new memories. We love serving this plate with a crisp and dry sancerre such as the award winning Lot 126 from 90+ Cellars. Good company, good food, good wine--what else could possibly be needed for at home entertaining?
cuisine Italian
difficulty Moderate
season Year Round
serves 4

Ingredients

1 pound squid ink pasta 2 pounds clams, scrubbed 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/2 cup grapeseed oil 1/2 cup capers, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels 2 tablespoons olive oil 7 tablespoons unsalted butter 2.5 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 sheet nori seaweed, ground in a spice grinder 1/2 cup parsley, chopped Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Pour the grapeseed oil into a small cocotte. Place the pot over high heat and when spitting, add the capers and fry until crispy and starting to brown (about 1 minute). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the capers from the oil to a papertowel to drain. Set aside.
  2. Put clean clams in a 4 quart lidded cocotte. Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine (clams release liquid as they cook). Steam the clams on medium heat, with the lid on, for 5 to 7 minutes. Clams cook like popcorn: some cook faster than others. Stir or shake the pot during cooking so that all the clams have room to open up. Remove from heat and toss the unopened clams. 
  3. Fill a large stock pot with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon sea salt and bring to a boil. Add the squid ink pasta and cook until al dente (fresh or dried pasta will cook at different rates so beginning checking consistency of pasta after 2 minutes for fresh and 7 minutes for dried). Drain and pour into a large serving bowl.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, put the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook the butter until it starts to foam, smells nutty, and is a golden brown color. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice, seaweed, ginger, and 1/2 of the parsley. 
  5. Add the cooked clams to the squid ink pasta and then pour the hot nori butter over the top. Toss all together (make sure some of the clams are poking out from the top), sprinkle with fried capers and the remaining parsley, and serve immediately.