With the heat cranking up, we reached for Birra Moretti and crisp, refreshing vino bianco this weekend. The family had been imploring me for some shellfish, so when some gorgeous clams showed up at the local purveyor, I couldn’t resist.  Simply put, this is a combination that can’t be beat! 

Mis en place

2 ripe tomatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
6oz. Soave Classico
2 dozen littleneck clams
1 dozen shrimp, cleaned, tails on
1 pound rigatoni
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sale e Pepe

Start by sweating the garlic in some olive oil.  Once fragrant, add the tomatoes and the scallions and saute 2-3 minutes until the aromas envelop the kitchen.  A presto:

Initial Stage: Aromatics softening

Once that’s accomplished, add the crushed red pepper, toss the clams into the pot, and stir them around until coated, maybe a minute or two.  Then add the wine, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the clams have opened; about 15-20 minutes.  Make sure any clams that don’t open are discarded. 

Clams added, and tossed through to coat

At this point, drop the pasta in the water and uncover the clams.  Test for seasoning and adjust.  Here’s what it’ll look like at this point.

Look at these beauties open up!
When the pasta is still about 5-6 minutes from being al dente, add the shrimp to the pot and cover until they are cooked through.  With the pasta still needing 2-3 minutes to cook, drain and toss into the pot, so that the pasta soaks up the brine from the clams and finishes cooking.   Serve on the table, directly from the pot. Be sure to have some crusty bread on hand to soak up the wonderful broth!

Finito!  Pasta con Vongole e Gamberi
With this dish,  I made a seasoned olive oil to dip the Tuscan peasant bread into.  Extra virgin olive oil with garden chives, salt, pepper, and a hint of crushed red pepper.  Along with this, we had romaine and radicchio treviso insalata with a lemon, dijon dressing.

La Tavola:  Insalata Treviso, Peasant Bread & Seasoned Oil

Finally,  I have gotten my hands on a number of Soave Classico recently, to do a series of reviews on this much forgotten wine.  This first installment features a Soave Classico from perhaps the best producer of the wine – Anselmi.  The 2011 Anselmi San Vincenzo Soave Classico  is a crisp, stainless steel fermented white that is dry, medium bodied, and totally refreshing. Comprised predominantly of the local Garganega grape, but including small portions of Trebbiano and Pinot Bianco, the Anselmi paired wonderfully with this dish.  The color is a medium golden hay, and the aromas are citrusey, with lemon and white peaches nicely displayed. In the mouth, there’s a spicy, slightly grassy aspect to the lemon, crisp pineapple and peach flavors. All is in balance and impressively,  this was delicious with the salad too.  As the dressing was comprised of lemon juice, the wine paired well with it and presented a great contrast to the bitterness of the radicchio.   91 points, about $12.  Stock up for summer!

2011 Anselmi San Vincenzo

Lastly, a beautiful picture of Garganega grapes on the vine…….

Garganega grapes in Soave
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