The first time I tasted this soup was at Anne’s, my mother-in-law, and I absolutely loved it. I immediately asked for the recipe and remember feeling overwhelmed by the number of ingredients. This must have been back when I still worked insane hours and found only little time to devote to cooking because the list isn’t really that long when I make this soup now. But trust me, the different flavors beautifully blend together in this main-course soup. The original recipe asks for clams, but both Anne and I agreed that it does well enough with only the clam juice. Please give it a try and let us know what you think.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cups sliced onion (about 2 medium onions)
1 28-ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes, undrained
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup fresh or bottled clam juice
2 tablespoons fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large bunch parsley, chopped
6 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed (optional)
Heat olive oil in large dutch oven over medium heat.
Add sausage, mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring frequently and breaking up sausage with fork, until sausage loses pink color, about 10 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes
Bring mixtures to boil, crushing tomatoes into small pieces.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.
Pour in wine and clam juice.
Return mixture to boil.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add basil and garlic and cook 5 minutes longer.
Stock can be prepared one day ahead to this point, covered and refrigerated until ready to use.
Before serving, transfer stock to pot large enough to accommodate stock and clams. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reserve half of parsley for garnish and add remaining parsley to pot.
Reduce heat to medium-high, cover and summer until clams open, about 5-10 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.
Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with reserved parsley. Serve immediately.