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Clams with Polenta

By Chef John Ash

A delicious Italian dish that can be easily prepared for a weeknight meal or a decadent appetizer. Pair with The Cutrer Chardonnay.

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    Serves 4

    Total Time 45 minutes

    Prep Time 30 minutes

    Difficulty Level Medium


    1/2 c whole milk (for the polenta)

    1 tsp salt, or to taste (for the polenta)

    3/4 c polenta or coarse cornmeal such as Bob's Red Mill (for the polenta)

    1 tbsp unsalted butter, or to taste (for the polenta)

    1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan, or to taste (for the polenta)

    3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (for the clams)

    1-1/2 c diced red onion (for the clams)

    2 tsp thinly sliced garlic (for the clams)

    1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste (for the clams)

    24 fresh littleneck or manila clams, scrubbed and rinsed (for the clams)

    1 c dry white wine (for the clams)

    1/4 c chopped flat leaf parsley (for the clams)


    1. For the polenta, bring 1-3/4 cups water and the milk to a high simmer in a medium-size heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Add salt.

    2. Pour the cornmeal slowly into the liquid, stirring with a wire whisk to prevent clumping. Continue stirring as the mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes.

    3. Turn heat to low and cook for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the polenta becomes quite thick, thin it with 1/2 cup water, stir well and continue cooking. Add additional water if necessary to keep the polenta soft enough to stir.

    4. Stir in the butter and parmesan. Taste for seasoning. Remove from heat and cover the pan tightly with a lid or plastic wrap to keep the polenta warm for up to an hour.

    5. For the clams, add the oil to a large deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the onion is translucent but not brown, about 4 minutes.

    6. Add the clams and wine, cover, bring to a boil and cook until all the clams have opened. Discard any that do not open. Stir in parsley.

    7. Divide the polenta among 4 warm pasta plates or bowls and top with the clams. Spoon cooking juices over the clams and serve immediately.

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    Sonoma-Cutrer’s top priority is always to protect the health and wellness of our guests and employees. Our team has been actively monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, especially as it relates to Sonoma County, CA. We have decided to suspend all tours and tastings at Sonoma-Cutrer beginning March 14, 2020.

    As we all navigate through this dynamic situation, our goal is to further minimize risk to our valued guests, employees and the potential spread of the virus to their families and communities. While we expect this disruption to our tours and tastings to be temporary, our closure will remain in place until this health emergency subsides and officials declare it safe to resume normal activity. 

    In the meantime, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. You may contact our tasting room at (707) 237-3489 or [email protected]. For wine club questions, please call (707) 237-3498 or email [email protected]. We will be checking our phone messages and emails daily.

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