About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Clam Soup | Main | Mussel Soup »

Clam and Pea Soup

This soup was my second try with littleneck clams in this challenge. I was really looking forward to this because the base of the soup is clams, onions, garlic, clam juice and parsley. This is also the base to the linguini with clams recipe that I make, which is one of my favorite dishes. Unfortunately, the other main ingredient in this soup is peas and I mean a lot of peas. I don’t usually have a problem with peas, but this combination really didn’t appeal to me. I think I am used to having the clams with an overall savory flavor, but the peas really added a sweetness that I found overwhelming. Maybe it was the choice of peas that I used that caused the problem. I didn’t find any palatable fresh peas so I went with an organic frozen pea. I could see how that might make a difference with this recipe.

This recipe was relatively easy to put together. Washing the clams and then steaming them to start. I then filtered the clam juice and cut the clams into thirds. In the meantime, I sautéed some onions until translucent, added chopped garlic and cooked until golden brown, then added parsley and diced Nina tomatoes in their juices. This cooked for about 10 minutes. I then added the clam juice and peas and cooked this until the peas were done. I added salt and fresh ground pepper. The last addition was the chopped clams. This cooked for a short time and was then served with crostini.


Marcella’s crostini is made by frying bread in vegetable oil. I used a small loaf of rosemary olive oil bread. This was a great choice and even my son, the pickiest eater around loved it.


I have to say one of my favorite parts of every new recipe that I make is actually reading the recipe. Marcella spends so much time making sure that we know how to do every thing the right way. In this recipe she walked us through how to know which clams to use, how many times to scrub them, and the ins and outs of why we need to do each step. It is very refreshing. I am learning more every day. I thought I was a reasonably knowledgeable cook, but I have learned more in the last 8 weeks than I care to admit!!

Comments (3)

Marcella Hazan:

Dear Beth, this combination is even more effective with the clams I grew up with in Italy, and with the peas from our farms. The former are peppery and the latter very sweet, and it can be a dynamic pairing. I find it works also here with littlenecks, but with fresh English peas, not frozen. I adore peas, but not everyone else does. De gustibus ... of course. Thanks. Marcella

Beth responds- Thanks for the insight. A few more weeks and we will have fresh peas here. Maybe I will remake the soup then. I know my next recipe I will love. It is the Tomato, basil, and garlic sauce. A staple in our house!

Beth, It is interesting how our traditional uses of a particular ingredient limit our ability to think of that ingredient in other ways, isn't it?
I would have never thought to pair peas with clams. But, now I think I would actually love this dish.
And I completely agree with you about admitting how much I'm learning from Marcella. On Tuesday, I will be admitting that she has blown away all of my preconceptions about squid. :grin:

Good job, Beth! The uncommon pairing of ingredients is very intriguing, to say the least!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 16, 2010 8:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Clam Soup.

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