Risotto with clams (Rimini style)

Il risotto with clams and tomato is a traditional Rimini dish. However, it does not belong to seafood cuisine, to those recipes born on boats. The risotto made in this way was born in restaurants, most likely by the Rimini native Salvatore Ghinelli, known in Rimini as “e’ Gnaf“, literally “Il Camuso”. Born in 1873, Salvatore worked in various hotels, on passenger ships and for the Princess of Venosa. Upon returning to Rimini he opened the San Michele restaurant, in the historic center and wrote in 1928 “The apprentice cook” a manual “for families, restaurants, hotels, guesthouses”.

To make a long story short in the 630 recipes “e’ Gnaf” tries to combine Romagna cuisine with international cuisine, clearly French in style. They are mostly bourgeois recipes but Romagna dishes such as passatelli or green lasagne also appear. But it was in fish cuisine that Ghinelli was expert and in particular in risottos: cockles, fish and cuttlefish just to name a few.

And the recipe that is written in the Apprentice Cook is essentially the same as the one that, at the end of the 80s/early 90s, another restaurateur, owner of a fish stall at the covered market in Rimini, gave to customers. A simple sheet of colored paper as a tribute to the ladies who decided to buy fish from her, a well-studied form of engagement. The recipes of Laurabecause that was the name of the owner, they are well written, with clear doses and passages, well laid out, each on a different colored sheet of paper.

My mother deserves credit for collecting and preserving these precious sheets of tissue paper. I promised myself to try all the recipes (the ones we have are 5) a little at a time. I started with the dish that most of all makes me think of beach restaurants: risotto with clams but only and strictly “red” just like the one described by e’ Gnaf in his book.

So to those of you who are already dreaming of a Sunday trip to Rimini, one of those that take place as soon as spring begins to appear, I give you the recipe to fuel your desire… good risotto!

Risotto with clams (Rimini style)

300 g of rice (Carnaroli)
1 kg of clams
400 g of fresh (or peeled) tomatoes
1 tablespoon parmesan

Wash the clams well, cook them, when they are open, drain them and remove the molluscs from the shells, keeping the cooking water after filtering it (Who I'll explain how to do it).
Chop the onion and garlic, fry them in oil, adding the tomatoes and a little water from the clams; boil for 10 minutes. Add the shelled clams and cook for another 15 minutes.

Here I add: Dilute the clam water with a little water and bring to the boil. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a saucepan, toast the rice for a few minutes and then start adding the boiling water.

After 7-8 minutes, add the sauce gradually, mix and finish cooking the rice, adding the parmesan while creaming.
Garnish with chopped parsley and chilli.

My sources are:
P. Meldini, The recipes of Gnaf – Panozzo ed.
M. Marziani P. Meldini, Rimini cuisine – Panozzo ed.


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