December 30, 2007

Italian Clam Chowder

In Italy tradition requires a very big dinner for Christmas Eve. One of the favorites starters is tortellini in brodo, which is a soup served with tortellini pasta. This year I didn't want to break the tradition, but since I had tons of absolutely Italian panettone and torrone I wanted to give an American twist to this Italian classic soup. I was thinking about an all-American soup that could go well with pasta, and I also wanted to use some fennel, so I had the wonderful idea of making an Italian version of New England clam chowder, which I like a lot. In fact, I love all the New England area, with its beaches, quaint towns and spectacular clam chowder.


1 pound cleaned clams
1 cup of clam juice
1 red onion, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
2 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 cup white wine
2 cups tortellini pasta
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 stick of butter
1 Tbsp flour
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt, pepper, peperoncino (Italian dried chilis)
Chopped chives for garnish

Melt the butter with 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, the fennel, salt, pepper, peperoncino and stir. After 2 minutes add the garlic and saute it stirring constantly for about 3 more minutes. Add the clams, stir. After 2 minutes, add the wine, stir and let the alcohol evaporate. Then pour in the clam juice, mixing constantly. When it begins to bubble pour in the heavy cream. Add the potatoes and let them cook over low heat for about 20 minutes. When the potatoes are ready, add the tortellini and turn back to medium heat. Usually it will take 11-12 minutes to have the pasta al dente, but check the instructions on the package. 5 minutes before the pasta is ready, add a cup of milk with 1 Tbsp flour dissolved into it. That's what will thicken your soup resulting in a luscious chowder. Before serving, garnish with some chives and a touch of olive oil.
Posted by Daziano at 6:44 PM |  


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