Recipe courtesy of Wolfgang Puck

Minestrone Soup with Clams

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Inactive: 15 min
  • Cook: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup diced (1/2-inch) yellow squash or zucchini

1/2 cup diced (1/2-inch) eggplant

1/2 cup diced (1/2-inch) zucchini

1/2 cup diced (1/2-inch) celery stalk

1/2 cup diced (1/2-inch) yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup diced (1/2-inch) red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced (1/2-inch) fennel bulb

1/2 cup diced (1/2-inch) carrots

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup tomato concasse

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 cup tomato paste

2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup diced (3/4-inch) baking potatoes, like russets

1 bouquet garni (1 sprig each of basil, parsley and bay leaf)

2 pounds Littleneck clams, cleaned and soaked in salted water for 15 minutes, drain

1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and peeled

2 cups Saffron Pasta Shells, recipe follows

4 to 8 tablespoons Pistou Sauce, recipe follows

Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle

6 bias slices baguette, brushed with olive oil, grilled, sliced in half lengthwise

Saffron pasta shells:

Water

Salt

Pinch saffron threads

2 ounces small dry pasta shells

Pistou sauce:

2/3 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic

Pinch salt

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

Directions

  1. In a stockpot, heat the olive oil. Saute the garlic, yellow squash, eggplant, zucchini, celery, bell peppers, fennel, carrots, onion, and tomato until glossy. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar, to taste. Stir in the flour and continue to cook until golden in color. Stir in the tomato paste, stock, potatoes, and bouquet garni. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are al dente.
  2. Add clams, cover, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until clams open. Uncover and remove bouquet garni. Add the garbanzo beans and Saffron Pasta Shells. Divide onto 4 soup plates and drizzle with Pistou Sauce and extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with 3 slices of grilled baguette. Serve immediately.

Saffron pasta shells:

  1. Bring water, salt and saffron to a boil. Add dry pasta shells and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water. Lightly dress with olive oil. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Yield: 2 cups

Pistou sauce:

  1. In a blender, combine olive oil, garlic, and salt. Process until garlic is minced, then while motor is running, add the basil leaves. Continue to process until pureed. Refrigerate until needed.
  2. Yield: 1 cup
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