Garlic lovers will be thrilled with this dish; several cloves of it stand up nicely to the assertive tastes of the broccoli rabe and buckwheat noodles. Non-garlic fans can simply delete a clove or two (or more), and all will be well. You'll have leftover broccoli rabe pesto, which can be used to sauce any kind of pasta.
The recipe calls for Vitamin C crystals, which are available from vitamin and natural-foods stores. They will help the pesto retain its nice green color.
Make Ahead: The broccoli rabe needs to be blanched, drained and chilled before being used for the pesto. Leftover pesto can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- For the pesto
- 1 quart blanched, chilled broccoli rabe (from a 1-pound bunch; see NOTE)
- 2 tablespoons capers (preferably salt-packed), rinsed and drained
- 4 cloves garlic, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Vitamin C crystals (optional; see headnote)
- 4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the clams and pasta
- 16 ounces dried buckwheat linguine or other thin buckwheat pasta
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus pared curls of the cheese, for garnish
- 1/2 cup chanterelle mushrooms (stem bottoms trimmed), cut into 1-inch slices if large (may substitute cremini or oyster mushrooms)
- 3 cloves garlic (or to taste), minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 20 littleneck clams, scrubbed
- 1/2 cup bottled clam juice
- 1 scant teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish
For the pesto: Pulse the broccoli rabe in a food processor until it is finely chopped; transfer to a medium bowl.
Combine the capers, garlic, Vitamin C crystals and anchovy fillets in the food processor. Pulse to achieve a medium-fine consistency, then add the mustards and pulse just to incorporate. Return the broccoli rabe to the food processor and gradually add the oil while pulsing to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The yield is 2 cups; reserve 1 cup for this recipe. The remaining pesto can be frozen for up to 3 months.
For the clams and pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; start checking after 4 minutes. Do not overcook, or the pasta will become mushy. Drain in a colander, then return the pasta to the pot (off the heat) and stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil and the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano until evenly distributed. Cover to keep warm.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chanterelles, garlic and shallot; cook until the mushrooms' moisture has evaporated, stirring frequently so as not to burn the garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the clams, clam juice and crushed red pepper flakes; cover and cook until the clams open. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved cup of broccoli rabe pesto.
Divide the pasta among individual wide, shallow bowls or plates. Arrange 5 clams on each portion. Spoon the pan sauce over the clams and pasta; garnish with parsley and with the Parmigiano-Reggiano curls, if desired. Serve right away.
NOTE: To prepare the broccoli rabe, slice off and discard the bottom 1 1/2 inches or so from the bunch's tough stems. Cut the remainder of the bunch into 3-inch lengths; use 4 packed cups for this recipe (best to use a 1-quart container for measuring). Reserve any excess for another use. Cook the 4 cups of broccoli rabe pieces in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then plunge them into ice water, rinse and drain.
From chef Robert Wiedmaier of Wildwood Kitchen in Bethesda.
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
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