Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Mary Claire Britton 
Active Time
35 Mins
Total Time
45 Mins
Serves 4

Consider butter sauce yawn-inducing? Not when it's infused with bonito flakes, the delicate shavings of sashimi quality tuna that’s been steamed, air-dried, and aged. Punch up the oceanic flavor with a smattering of briny littleneck clams for an anything-but-boring bite.

How to Make It

Step 1

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low, stirring occasionally. Stir in bonito flakes. Remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes.

Step 2

Pour butter through a fine wire-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl. Press bonito flakes with a rubber spatula to extract all the butter. Discard bonito flakes. Pour infused butter into an airtight container, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 3

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup cooking water.

Step 4

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot, garlic, crushed red pepper, and thyme; cook until shallot and garlic are softened, about 2 minutes. Add clams and white wine; increase heat to high. Bring to a boil; cover and cook, shaking occasionally, until clams open, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer clams and liquid to a bowl; set aside. Discard thyme and any clams that do not open.

Step 5

Return skillet to medium-high. Add reserved cooking water and lemon juice; cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in bonito butter and salt. Add clam mixture and pasta; cook over medium-low until heated through, about 2 minutes. Divide among 4 bowls, and top with chopped herbs. Serve immediately.