Risotto With Fresh Clams

Risotto With Fresh Clams


for the clams

Serves: 4

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: About 10 minutes

  • 4 Tbsp. Butter

  • 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

  • 2 Bulbs Sliced Fennel + 2 Fennel Fronds ( the fuzzy green stuff attached to the bulb)

  • 5 Cloves Fresh Garlic chopped finely

  • 2 c. Fresh Grape Tomatoes – sliced in halves

  • 1 c. Dry White Wine

  • Pinch of Saffron dissolved in the white wine

  • 1 tsp. Sambuca or Pernod (optional)

  • 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

  • 3 Dozen Fresh Clams (Cherrystone is a good one here)

  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley – chopped

  • 3 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Basil

  • Salt and pepper as needed

  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh lemon juice

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling before serving


  1. Important – scrub your clams with a brush before using.

  2. Cook the garlic and fennel for a couple of minutes in the butter and oil. Then add the tomatoes. Cook about 5-6 minutes.

  3. Add the sliced tomatoes and cook covered for about 5 minutes at med. high.

  4. Add the white wine with the saffron threads dissolved in it and Sambuca or Pernod (if using) Don’t worry if saffron does not completely dissolve.

  5. Cook about 4 minutes letting the wine cook down and the tomatoes release their juices.

  6. Add the pepper flakes and herbs. Stir.

  7. Season with Salt and Pepper. Taste for seasoning.

  8. Add the clams – give a light stir.

  9. Add the fennel fronds –  then cover to cook on medium high for 10 minutes.

  10. Clams should all open – discard any that do not.

  11. Add the lemon now.

  12. Taste for seasoning.

  13. Your clams are now finished – you can enjoy them as is, or reserve them for the risotto. If serving  the clams alone, add a crusty loaf for dunking!

  14. Before serving – drizzle with a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil.


for the risotto!

Serves: 4

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: About 40 minutes

  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

  • 3 Tbsp. Butter

  • 2 c. Arborio Rice

  • 1 Chopped Onion

  • 1/2 c. Dry White Wine

  • 1 c. Fresh Peas – if in season – if not, frozen is OK

  • 4 c. Chicken broth – warm (keep a little extra handy in case you need it)

  • 1/2 c. Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese – grated (Montasio is also lovely in this)

  • 2 Tbsp. Butter

  • Fresh Basil for garnish


  1. Keep chicken broth warm for adding to the risotto so that you don’t reduce the temperature of the risotto as you cook it.

  2. Cook onion in butter and oil about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the rice and cook another 5 minutes, tossing and coating with the oil and butter.

  4. Add the wine and cook down a little.

  5. Add the fresh or frozen peas.

  6. Begin adding the warm chicken broth a ladle at a time. Let the rice absorb the liquid as you stir constantly, before adding the next ladle. Repeat this until the broth is incorporated. Alternate with some of the liquid from the clams – remember to stir.

  7. When the risotto is tender to the bite, add the butter and stir in as it melts. Then add the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Let it rest a couple of minutes.

  8. Spoon the cooked clams with the tomatoes and fennel over the risotto along with remaining juices. You can also do this with individual servings, if you like.

  9. Top with a drizzle of a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a sprinkle of chopped fresh Basil.

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