The Breslin, The John Dory Oyster Bar, and The Spotted Pig, NYC
Acquacotta, a humble, traditional Tuscan soup, translates to “cooked water.” April Bloomfield takes it up a notch with the addition of clams and a generous amount of bacon.
- 1 cup white wine
- 10 quahog or chowder clams
- 4 cups slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup anchovy fillets
- 2 cups carrots, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 4 flat-leaf parsley stems
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 3 cups diced onions
- 2 cups sliced celery
- Salt to taste
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Two 28-ounce cans whole Italian tomatoes, strained and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish
- Extra virgin olive oil for garnish
Put the wine in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add the clams, and cover. Simmer until the clams open, about 5 minutes. Transfer the clams to a plate, discarding any that didn’t open. Strain the cooking liquid through a paper towel or coffee filter and reserve. Once the clams have cooled, removed them from their shells, leaving behind the muscle that attaches the clam to the shell. Roughly chop the clam meat and set aside.
In a separate large pot, sauté the slab bacon until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the anchovies and sauté until melted. Add the carrots and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Wrap the parsley stems and thyme in a piece of cheesecloth and tie the sachet with string. Add the sachet, onions, and celery to the pot. Season with salt and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chopped clam meat, and half of the strained cooking liquid. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Add the remaining wine and clam juice. Cover and cook until the clams are tender, about 5 minutes.
To serve, divide the acquacotta among 6 bowls. Finish with chopped parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.