CLASSIC pasta risotto with clams









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The risotto equivalent of linguine con vongole. We look for Manila clams, but if only larger ones are available, that's fine. Just chop them up.


  • two cups of Arborio rice (or the two other approved varieties)
  • two pounds (or slightly more) of small clams, like Manila
  • five cups of fish (or vegetable or chicken) stock
  • two cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • one small onion, finely diced
  • six tablespoons of olive oil
  • three-quarters cup dry white wine
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • two tablespoons chopped parsley
  • one tablespoon of butter
  • salt and pepper

Put the clams in cold water and let them fizz. Toss out any that have opened. Scrub them. Put them in a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and a quarter cup of the white wine over a high heat. Cover. After a few minutes, monitor progress. Turn the clams over gently with a slotted spoon. Watch as they open up. When all are opened, or almost all, remove them and set them aside. Save the broth. (toss out any clams that did not open). When they are cooled, remove the clams from their shells. If they are large clams, chop them coarsely. Put them in the broth to keep moist. Now do the risotto.

to cook: (a more detailed and elaborate description of the risotto cooking technique can be found at how to cook risotto).

Bring the stock to a slow simmer in a pan next to the risotto pan. In a thick-bottomed pan (the risotto pan), over medium-high heat: add  four tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and the garlic.. Cook until soft. Add the pinch of red pepper flakes. Add the rice and stir until each grain is coated. Add the half cup of white wine. Cook and stir until it is absorbed by the rice, about two minutes. Add salt. Now add the hot stock, ladle by ladle, only adding another ladle when the previous ladle of liquid has been absorbed, stirring almost all of the time. Continue adding the ladles of stock until the rice is properly done: twenty minutes or so.

In the last few minutes, say at minute fifteen, add the clams. You can add a little of the clam broth also at this point, but beware of sand.

Determine proper doneness by tasting regularly. When it is just al dente, with a little creaminess, it is ready.

Take off the heat. Stir in the final tablespoon of olive oil (no cheese). Taste for salt.  We let it sit, covered, for a minute or two. Serve.



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