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21 May 2013

Sautéed Mussels and Clams (Sauté di Cozze e Vongole) and an Upcoming Tour of Piedmont and Liguria

I just closed my suitcase and triple-checked the list of things that I should take with me.  Almost everything's packed.  I never really mentioned until now that I was invited to go to Piemonte (Piedmont) and Liguria at the northwest part of Italy for an Enogastronomic Press Tour sponsored by Borsa Internazionale del Turismo Enogastronomico (BITEG).  It's a tour organized by the Piedmont Tourism to experience and to get to know some chosen towns that represent both regions well.  In Liguria, the cultural and culinary specialties of the Savona coast will be explored like their chinotto (myrtle-leaved orange tree), extra virgin olive oil and pesto. In Piedmont, we will get to know the three important food and wine products that the region proudly stands for:  Barolo wines, truffles and hazelnuts.  

To effectively engross ourselves with each special product of Piedmont, we are divided into three groups.  As you can see, it's not easy to choose among them.  I chose truffles.  One  of the perks of this group is that we are going to experience truffle hunting with an expert and his sniffing dogs.  I'm sure it will be quite an experience and I can't wait to see the dogs in action.  As we trudge back to the hotel, we will be taught how to make pasta all' uovo (fresh pasta with eggs).  Maybe, just maybe, I will take out my own still-sealed decade old dusty pasta maker when I get back home.  

In Bra, a town in Piedmont, we will meet with Slow Food and see the presentation of Cheese 2013 which will be held in September. If you are curious about what Slow Food is, as the name suggests, it's the opposite of fast food and is presented as a much better alternative to it.  It focuses on preserving quality regional food products from different parts of the world.  What started in Italy in 1986 as a small movement to resist the opening of the first McDonald's in the country (near the Spanish Steps in Rome), became a giant now with more than 150 countries committed to it.  It's a relief to see a fast-growing commitment using and promoting good food.

I can't make the whole program fit in one post but just to give you an idea, we will be visiting some towns and taste their food specialties.  It's a cultural and enogastronomic discovery of these two incredible regions.  You won't miss out on anything because I will (as always) continuously update you in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on what I see and taste.  I promise you that it will be an incredible tour of what that little corner of Italy can offer. 

Now this delicious recipe.

It's actually a very simple and common dish with emphasis on its tastiness.  If you love shellfish, then this dish is yours.  The tomatoes finalize the delicious combination of mussels, clams and white wine.  There's nothing else to say but just enjoy.  It's addictive!

Have a wonderful week!

Sautéed Mussels and Clams in Tomato Sauce 

(Sauté di Cozze e Vongole)


Serves 4

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 chilis, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • big bunch chopped parsley
  • 1 kilo mussels
  • 1 kilo clams
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 2 cups mussel & clam broth (made from cooking the mussels and clams)
  • Salt 
  • Pepper


  1. On medium flame in a large saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, sauté 1 chili, 1 garlic and 1 tablespoon parsley.
  2. When the garlic turns golden, add the mussels & clams.  Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Pour the wine then put up the flame to high.  Cook for another 3 minutes or until the alcohol has evaporated. 
  4. When the shells have opened, transfer them to a bowl.  Discard the ones that didn't open.
  5. Strain the liquid with a strainer and get rid of the sediments.  Set the shells aside and the broth in another bowl.
  6. Using the same saucepan to cook, wipe away the sediments from the saucepan.   Put some extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Sauté the remaining garlic and chili.  Add the tomato puree.  Cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Add 2 cups broth.  Cook for 5 minutes
  9. Add the mussels and clams.  Cook for another 10 -15 minutes.
  10. Season with salt & pepper and add more parsley.
  11. Serve hot with bread.