Friday, July 15, 2011

Tribute to Marcella Hazan

With great admiration do I dedicate today’s blog entry to Marcella Hazan, a cook and food writer who - besides having made Italian cuisine accessible to thousands of appreciative followers - to me is one of the biggest champions of simple and seasonal home hooking.

“Cooking is the institution that fosters the development and endurance of familial bonds in many of our worlds.” Marcella Hazan

Coming myself from a family were generations of women have been dedicated and proud home cooks, I am a close observer of all the consequences of processed foods, instant meals and constantly eating out. Not only is it contributing to many of today’s health problems, but equally important, to the demise of having family meals together, sitting around a table and instead of the constant entertainment by a television, actually talking to each other. And with my own wedding day coming closer, I find a great source of optimism in her words for growing old and toothless with the Santoku master.

“While other passions in your life may at some point begin to bank their fires, the shared happiness of good homemade food can last as long as we do." Marcella Hazan

As there is so much to say about Marcella and her way of seeing cooking as a craft, her art of composing well-rounded meals, you can imagine the challenge of choosing one recipe for this tribute. Remaining true to her philosophy of simplicity and straightforwardness, I opted for my own variation of her mussel soup from ‘Essentials of classic Italian cooking”, substituting the mussels with clams and adding half a cup of white wine to make the soup more liquid.

“To put a freshly made meal on the table, even if it is something very plain and simple as long as it tastes good and is not a ready-to-eat something bought at the store, is a sincere expression of affection.” Marcella Hazan

1 pinch of admiration for one of the greatest food writers in history
1 pound clams
1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
½ cup white wine

In my beloved dutch oven, I heated some olive oil and let the garlic fry until golden. Then, I added in the chopped parsley and after another minute or two, the diced tomatoes, including their juice, and half a cup of white wine. As I mentioned above, I usually like my soups on the more liquid side, so if you don’t, strain the tomatoes and skip the wine.

While letting the broth simmer for around ten minutes on low heat, I cleaned the clams, scrubbing them repeatedly under running cold water. Marcella recommends waiting until the oil has separated from the sauce before throwing in the clams, as well as turning the heat up to high, stirring from time to time and waiting until they had all opened their shells (discard any that don't open).

The results were magnificent, a soup filled with the airy lightness of a summer breeze gently stroking over the coast, yet rich with the depths the deepest sea. And to my utter consolation, you can probably even eat it without teeth.

Life is good!

You might be interested in checking out tributes to Marcella (and her recipes!) on these lovely blogs:

Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen - Bake Away With Me
Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia -
A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud


  1. What a beautiful tribute! I love your addition of "one pinch of admiration" to your recipe. The quotes you chose from Marcella are just beautiful, and I love the image of cooking as a sincere expression of affection.

  2. What a wonderful tribute. I, too, love the special ingredient you have added to your recipe. I hope you will join us again next week. Blessings...Mary

  3. Marcella Hazan is a true master and deserves to be high up on the list.

  4. Hello from me in Turkey! So glad you are participating in this amazing foodie journey! Take care and see you next Friday!

  5. Delicious tribute! I think Marcella would be very proud...and I want to dig in :D

  6. Yum! I would love to try this. Beautiful tribute.

  7. gut dass ich das Kochbuch in Deutsch besitze :-)

  8. My tribute to Marcella Hazan, her famous "Lemon-Chicken". Such simply and such delicious. A stunning dish, promised.äge/2011/3/22_Zitronenhuhn.html

    Martin "BerlinKitchen"

  9. thanks so much ladies for the warm welcome in the tribute group! and great to see that marcella's recipes have made their way back across the atlantic!

  10. Lovely tribute and beautiful dish! It looks so delicious! Can't wait to give it a try! Nice post!

  11. This Zuppa Vongole is just so perfect! Back in the day, my husband and I frequented a small Italian joint in Providence, RI that served the best ... and this is exactly as I remember it ... with big old crusts of crunchy peasant-rustica bread and a bottle of wine, we thought we were in heaven! Ahhh!

  12. Marcella did so much to educate our palates and elevate our kitchen skills. Her rustic approach to cooking still resonates today. you did well to honor her with this dish.


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