Gnocchi clam chowder


This here is the tastiest, fastest, easiest, most comforting clam chowder you may ever eat.

I start with Jasper White's legendary New England clam chowder recipe, but I use canned clams, a bottle of clam juice, and gnocchi instead of fresh clams, homemade clam juice, and potatoes. I'm sure the original, fully-handmade version is delicious, but who has the time? I also change up the technique so that this soup comes together in minutes, but tastes like it simmered for hours.


I also make this recipe using milk instead of cream because we NEVER have cream in the house. And when we do, I only need a tiny bit and then the rest goes bad because we don't use it. Instead, I use a little more butter when sauteing the aromatics to add richness.


Just a note, this chowder is a soup-y chowder. Some people like their chowder to have a thick gloopy consistency, but I prefer a slightly thinner soup. The gnocchi is soft, so you do get a hint of a thicker soup, but with more broth. Win-win, I think. If going gluten-free, either look for gluten-free gnocchi or swap in diced potatoes for the gnocchi and cook the soup until the potatoes are fork tender.


Gnocchi Clam chowder

2 6.5 oz cans of chopped clams (use brine to make up the 2 cups of clam juice)
2 cups (8 oz) bottled clam juice
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 large shallots
1 large clove garlic
1 large stalk celery
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup milk
1 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 lb potato gnocchi (1 package)*

Open the cans of clams and drain the water into a measuring cup. Add more clam juice until you have two cups of liquid. Set aside the clams and the juice. 

In a medium soup pot, melt the butter and sauté the shallots and celery until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Transfer the sautéed shallots, celery, garlic, and thyme to a blender or food processor. Add the milk and puree until smooth.

Return the milk puree to the large pan with the clam juice, water, thyme, and gnocchi. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes, or according to package directions.

Add the reserved clams and cook for 1 minute more.

Remove the bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Yield: 53 oz, or about 6 cups

*If making ahead of time, make the soup liquid up to the point where you add the gnocchi and boil. Instead of adding the gnocchi, combine the liquids and canned clams, transfer to storage container, and chill for up to 2-3 days. When you want to eat, transfer the liquid back to a pot, bring to a boil, add the gnocchi, and cook for 3 minutes, or until gnocchi begins to float.


Meatless Monday: Spring vegetable baked gnocchi

Whelp, it's been a while since my last post and if I'm being honest, it's because I've been obsessively online shopping for shoes to wear to my college reunion. But it's not as shallow as it sounds! I'm focusing my energies on something I can control because there's a lot right now that I can't. It's easier to compare heel heights and debate the pros and cons of suede in DC humidity than to worry about, say, authoritarianism or long-term career plans or huge and imminent life changes. It's enough to give me an ulcer. Which is also something I worry about.

This casserole has been helpful on busy days and is, as always, a helpful vehicle for vegetables. The leftovers are also great when crisped in the oven. I tend to shy away from baked pasta since it requires an extra step that the original ingredients don't necessarily need to taste great. But smothering things in cheese is always better than NOT smothering things with cheese and since the gnocchi cook so quickly, the overall prep and cooking time isn't overwhelming. Also, the gnocchi have a lot of starch thanks to the potatoes, which thickens the ricotta so that a bechamel or flour-based sauce isn't necessary.

Baked gnocchi

1 package potato gnocchi, cooked al dente
1 large shallot, minced
1 bunch asparagus, woody stems chopped off
1 box baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 box shitake mushrooms, chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup full fat ricotta
½ cup parmesan
½- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is heating, melt butter in a sauté pan and cook the shallots until opaque. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to release some water. Add the garlic and asparagus and cook until the water evaporates. If the mushrooms don’t release any water, feel free to add a tbsp or two with the asparagus and cook until it evaporates.

When water is boiling, add the gnocchi and as soon as they start floating to the top, scoop the gnocchi out with a slotted spoon or strainer and put into a large bowl. If only a few gnocchi float at a time, scoop them out in small groups. If the gnocchi aren’t floating or some seem to be cooking at the bottom of the pot for longer than 3-4 minutes, test for doneness and scoop out as long as they no longer taste doughy.

Mix the gnocchi with ricotta, parmesan, sautéed veggies, salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish and top with shredded mozzarella. Bake under the broiler until cheese is brown and bubbly, about 10-12 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings