the appetizer:

This recipe, Clam Stew with Prosecco, is from Domenica Marchetti's cookbook The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy.


Clam Stew with Prosecco  

Clam Stew
with Prosecco
Zuppa di Vongole
al Prosecco

Makes 4 main-course servings

Prosecco is a dry, mildly sparkling white wine from the Veneto region. I use it here because, in all honesty, it was the only white wine I had on hand one day when I was making this simple, classic southern Italian stew. It turned out to be a perfect match for the clams, enhancing their briny sea flavor without overwhelming it. I have, at various times, tried to soup up this recipe by adding shallots, chopped fresh tomatoes, mixed fresh herbs, or even diced pancetta. But I always come back to this most basic and, in my opinion, most delicious version. Here, less is truly more; the fewer ingredients you use, the more the flavor of the clams will shine through.

  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced paper-thin
  • 2 small dried red chili peppers, crumbled,
         or a generous pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup Prosecco or dry white wine
  • 48 littleneck or other small clams, thoroughly cleaned
         (see page 16 of the book)
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, or more to taste
  • 8 slices Crostini (page 148) or 4 slices Bruschetta (page 151)
  • Best-quality extra-virgin olive oil for serving

In a large skillet or saute pan, warm the garlic and chili peppers in the 1/3 cup olive oil over medium heat until the garlic just starts to sizzle. Do not let it brown or it will become bitter.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the Prosecco (it will foam briefly) and the clams and toss. Cover the pan and steam the clams for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they open. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary—this will depend on the saltiness of the clam liquor. Turn off the heat and stir in the parsley. Discard any clams that failed to open.

Arrange the bread at the bottom of 4 shallow bowls, dividing it evenly. Divide the clams and broth evenly among the bowls, ladling them over the bread. Drizzle with your best olive oil.

The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy
by Domenica Marchetti
Photography by William Meppem
Chronicle Books, 2006
$19.95/trade paperback
29 color photographs
ISBN: 0811848175
Recipe reprinted by permission.


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