This pasta dish is rich, creamy and full of umami, thanks to the kelp in the bright-green cream sauce and garnish. Ask your fishmonger or seafood supplier to source dried kelp for you.
You can also find dehydrated kelp at seafood shops or health food stores.
Once added to the sauce, it rehydrates to a spinach-like texture in less than a minute.
Spicy Kelp cream
1/2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp chili flakes
1 1/2 cups whipping (33%) cream, plus extra if needed
1/3 cup dried kelp, rinsed (soak the kelp in water for 10 minutes to rehydrate)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Sea salt, to taste
Clams and pappardelle
3 lbs clams
1 lb dried pappardelle or fettuccine
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
3 Tbsp sliced fresh basil
1 cup spinach
3 Tbsp dried kelp (see headnote)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add shallots and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients except salt, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cool lightly. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Strain purée through a fine-mesh sieve.
Thin out, if desired, with a little extra cream. Season to taste with salt.
(Can be made ahead and refrigerated.)
Clams and pappardelle
Put clams in a colander and rinse under cold running water.
This will purge the clams and they will release some of the sand and grit that may be left inside and out. Discard any that are open
Keep chilled until needed.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat and add pasta.
Cook until al dente, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallots and sauté for 5 minutes, until tender and translucent. Pour in wine and bring to a boil.
Add clams, cover and cook 2 minutes, just until the shells open up. Discard any that don’t open. Add kelp cream and cook for another 2 minutes, until warmed through. Stir in basil, dried kelp, spinach and crushed red pepper (if using).
Drain pasta and stir it into pan of clams.
Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve family style.