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Zuppa di Mussels, or Vongole al Pomodoro | Print |  E-mail
Written by Juanabe   
Monday, 30 August 2010 00:32
Zuppa di Mussels (clams) o Vongole al Pomodoro

Mussel or Clam Zuppa (Special rich soup) with Tomatoes, Zuppa di Cozze o Vongole al Pomodoro: Classic, simple addictingly tasty dish. This shellfish recipe will work well as a first course, served with Bruschetta, a simple and delicious Italian garlic bread, or on a bed of fine pasta or linguine al dente.

live hard-shelled clams or mussels or both (Up to 5 1/2 pounds if you have large pots and a VERY hot gas stove — up to 1.5 lbs for most stoves.)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 large cloves garlic (more the merrier to taste)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
1/2 cup dry white wine (pale dry sherry works very well.)
Parsley sprig (fresh italian wide-leaf) (Optional for white sauce)
Optional (white sauce needs no tomatoes — both are great! 1/4 pound very ripe tomatoes (6 small Campari on-the-vine fresh tomatoes would be amazing!)
no salt.

(Start preparing a day ahead.)

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Soak shellfish overnight in salted water (in sea water if available, or see instructions below.).
Drain in a colander. Mince abundant parsley, cut the tomatoes, and grind some pepper in your peppermill.
Sliced garlic as finely as possible. Not minced, just paper thin fine slices.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy 3 quart saucepan or Dutch oven over very low heat. Add the garlic; cook slowly until the garlic just begins to turn very light brown, this should take about 10 minutes. 2. Add the crushed red pepper, if using, and remove from the heat. Let cool 5 minutes.

Return the pan to high heat; add the wine and boil 3 minutes. Add the cleaned clams or mussels and cover tightly. Steam, shaking the pan occasionally, just until the shells open, about 2 minutes for the mussels, 6 minutes for the clams. 60 seconds before completion add tomatoes and parsley if desired, more red pepper or black pepper to taste. Spoon the shellfish and broth into shallow bowls and serve very hot.

Cook a minute or two more, and serve, with toasted bread or over pasta.

If one of the shellfish fails to open upon being cooked, do not eat it! It was already dead when it went into the pot, and eating

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