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Red Chile Risotto Clams

4 pounds small clams, about 5 dozen
6 large cloves of garlic, sliced
6 stems fresh parsley
8 cups water
1 cup white wine
7 cups clam juice or fish stock
1/2 cup white onion, finely diced
7 tbsp butter or margarine
2-1/2 cups arborio rice
4 tsp garlic, very finely minced
4 tbsp Roma tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp hot New Mexico chile powder (or a mixture of medium Molido and cayenne)
4 tbsp red bell pepper, diced
4 tbsp yellow bell pepper, diced
6 tbso fresh imported Parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

Scrub the clams and discard any dead ones.
In a wide-bottomed stainless steel or enamel pan, place the sliced garlic, parsley, 4 cups of water, wine, and the clams in a single layer. Cover and bring to a boil, simmer over low heat until the clams open up, no more than 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and let sit for a further 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the clams from the broth and extract the meat from the shells. Discard any shells that do not open. Allow the broth to cool, remove the garlic and parsley, and strain, if necessary, to remove sand or other foreign particles. Combine the broth with enough clam juice to equal 11 cups of liquid. Saute the onion with 3 tbsp of butter, over medium heat in a large pan, until soft, about 15 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 5 minutes, over medium heat, stirring constantly (cooking any longer will make the rice tough). Add 2 cups each of water and clam juice, alternating 1 cup of water, 1 cup of juice, stirring continuously. This should be absorbed after about 10 minutes or so, then add, alternately in 1/2 cup increments, 2 cups of water and 1 cup of clam juice, stir and allow to absorb for another 5 to 10 minutes. At this stage the rice should be about 1/2 cooked. (If preparing this dish ahead of time, stop at this point and lay out the rice on a long flat sheet pan to prevent it gumming together.) Add the minced garlic, tomatoes, and chile powder and continue stirring and cooking over medium heat for 10 minutes. Then add a further 4 cups of clam juice, 1/2 cup at a time. Add the peppers and add another 3 cups of clam juice, in 1/4 cup increments and allow to absorb for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the clams and the remaining 1 cup of clam juice in 1/4 cup increments and allow the liquid to absorb for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the remaining butter and cheese and garnish with parsley sprinkled on top. Serve hot. Yield: 4 servings



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