This dish is a takeoff of the Italian peasant dish Pasta Fagioli, but steamed clams take the place of the pasta found in a traditional Fagioli. It’s loaded with the classic Italian flavors found in most Fagioli recipes and can be prepared in 30 minutes.
Fagioli has become so popular in American today that it’s widely found even in restaurants that don’t specialize in Italian cuisine. According to Wikipedia, the word for beans varies in the different Italian dialects so much that fagoli is it often pronounced differently. Pastafazoola, a song written by Van & Schenck, used the Neapolitan pronunciation for the rhyme - “Don’t be a fool, eat pasta fazool.” Whenever I hear the word fazool, it always reminds me of the line in Dean Martin’s song That’s Amore - “When the stars make you drool, just-a like a pasta fazool, that’s amore.”
Meakin has his own way of steaming clams and that’s how we prepared them for this recipe so we would have fresh clam broth instead of having to use bottled clam broth. If you plan to use your own method to steam the clams, you’ll want to steam the clams first before you proceed with the recipe and add them at the end when you’re plating. Otherwise, just follow the recipe as written below. For a less soupy version, use the recommended ½ can of the tomatoes and beans.
We are crazy about steamed clams and thought this dish definitely fell into the “have-again” category. It is lighter and less filling than the traditional pasta fagioli and frankly we didn’t miss the pasta at all. Plus we’re always glad to welcome another 30 minute meal into our repertoire. Don’t forget the slices of a toasted baguette to sop up all of the delicious juices.
Steamed Clams Fagioli
Adapted from Cooking Light, serves 4, can be prepared in 30 minutes
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/2 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained (I used entire can)
1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons clam juice
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Dash of kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (I used entire can)
12 littleneck clams
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices French bread baguette (about 4 ounces), toasted
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add onion and celery; sauté for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add red pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth, clam juice, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper and drained beans. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat & simmer 2 minutes. Add clams to pan. Cover and cook over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until clams open (be sure discard any clams whose shells don’t open.) Ladle 2/3 cup soup into 4 bowls & top each with 3 clams. Serve with slicked of toasted baguette to mop up the broth.
Easter recipes early next week. Stay tuned.