Zuppa di Vongole
Est! Est! Est! is one of the Lazio's great white wines and the one that forms the central focus of Montefiascone's Fiera del Vino held the first two weeks of August. The story behind this wine dates back to 1111, when Enrico V was en route to Rome with his servant, Martino, whose job it was to scout out the regions' best osterie-small restaurants that make their own wine. When he found one, he was to write on the outside wall "est," meaning roughly "I have been here, " with the understanding that the wine was good. Martino first arrived in Montepulciano, producer of one of Italy's best red wines-vino nobile-and marked it with an "Est!" His next stop was in Orvieto, where he tasted that delicately perfumed, eponymously named vintage and with unrestrained exuberance, commented "Est! Est!" But then he arrived in Montefiascone, a hilltop village overlooking Lake Bolsena, and tasted a moscato so superb as to render him almost speechless, except for the enthusiastic 'Est! Est! Est!" scribbled onto the outside wall.
Time: 30 minutes
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
2 pounds Manila or other medium clams,
scrubbed under running water
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 salt-packed anchovy
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 pound ripe Italian plum tomatoes,
peeled, seeded, and finely diced
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons heavy cream
8 thin slices country-style bread,
toasted and rubbed with garlic
1. Soak the clams in 15 minutes in cold water to extract any sand. Drain and put in a large skillet, cover, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Discard any unopened shells. Cool to room temperature.
2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the clams and strain the broth that will have seeped out of the shells.
3. Heat the oil in a skillet over low heat. Sauté the garlic, anchovy, and parsley for 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes, clams, clam broth, salt, and pepper and mix until well blended. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook until warmed through.
4. Divide the warm bread among four bowls, top with soup, and serve immediately.
How to Serve:
As a first course, followed by roast turkey and sautéed greens; or as a one-dish meal served with additional bread and a mixed green salad.
Dry White or Medium-bodied Red
Italian Festival Food
Recipes and Traditions
From Italy's Regional Country Fairs
By Anne Bianchi
Macmillan USA, June 1999
336 pages, with 62 b/w photographs
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created December 1999
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