About Beth

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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Sauce with Tomatoes | Main | Sardinian Botarga Sauce »

White Clam Sauce

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I'm so happy cooking my way through Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. And I'm also happy that I'm still cooking pastas-my favorite. I was very happy to see that one of the recipes I get to cook is White Clam Sauce. I've eaten it several times, and made it a couple, but this recipe was different. The method comes from Venice, from Cesae Benelli's Al Covo. What makes his version different is that you only partially cook the pasta, then when it's still underdone, you finish it in a pan along with the clam juice that was reserved from cooking the clams earlier. Marcella says that by the time the pasta is cooked, it has absorbed all of the fresh clam juices which make it much richer than most versions of this pasta. I totally agree. It felt as if I was eating the essence of the sea. And I have to admit, it was sure a lot easier to eat when the clams had already been removed from their shell. Another one to add to the list to make again and again (Wait, haven't I said that about most of the pastas I've made so far?).

Okay, how to make it. First, go out and buy Essentials of Italian Cooking so you will have the exact directions. I'm only promoting her book for one reason-I love it! She says that you can use homemade fettuccine, but I decided to use her other alternative-boxed spaghettini. You wash the clams, and heat them up to open them. You then remove them from the shells, reserving the juice. Then you cook sliced garlic in a skillet in olive oil, and add some diced tomato. The you add dry white wine. After simmering briefly, you set it aside while you cook the pasta just short of being al dente. You then drain the pasta, and add it to the skillet in which contains the garlic, olive oil, white wine, and tomato. You then add the clam juice, and cook until the juice has evaporated and the been absorbed into the pasta. When the pasta is properly cooked, you add the cut-up clams and freshly torn basil leaves and serve immediately.

Here's a close-up photo. Can't you just imagine that you're in Venice, sitting out by a canal, sipping a nice glass of white wine and enjoying the tastes of the sea? We can always dream...
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Comments (5)

This recipe looks really good. I like clams almost as much as mussels. hmmm...
Marcella, what changes would you make in this recipe if you substituted mussels for clams? And which variety of mussels?

My husband and I were just talking about the restaurants we want to visit in Venice this December and Al Covo is one of them. We have had this dish there over several visits, and Cindy, the photo of your dish looks divine! Thank you!

Marcella Hazan:

It looks irresistible. I hope that in the recipe I remembered to say that the clam juice should either be filtered or poured very carefully to separate it from any grit.

Marcella Hazan:

Deborah, if you are using mussels, you may want to do the tomatoes differently because mussels call for a lot more tomato. I'd use canned San Marzanos cut up roughly, not diced, and cook them not briefly as in this recipe, but at least 15 or 20 minutes. Open up the mussels over heat, shell them, strain and reserve their juices. Otherwise use the same basic procedure for finishing the recipe.

Deborah responds:
Thanks, Marcella. I'll try it that way soon, and let you know how it turned out.

I just have to add something silly regarding Al Covo. Please delete if it is not appropriate!

Our first visit to Al Covo was in 1991. We were with a couple of friends and really enjoying ourselves, when a gorgeous blonde woman and her male companion leaned toward us and commented on how much fun we were having. Not obnoxious fun mind you, just truly convivial company.

I recognized her, it was Meredith McCrae! Anyone remember "Petticoat Junction"? Here I am talking to Billie Jo! She was staying at the Cipriani and singing there. She invited us to come over to the Cipriani, catch her show and buy us a drink.

We went via the Cipriani launch and per Marcella's suggestion, in one of her cookbooks, indulged in their chocolate gelato. I can still conjure up the taste!

Sadly, Meredith passed away. But thanks to Marcella, we tasted the chocolate gelato at the Cipriani.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 17, 2010 6:04 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Clam Sauce with Tomatoes.

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