Zuppa di Clams


Every Christmas Eve I look forward to my Dad making, Zuppa di Clams. We celebrate the Italian Tradition of the 7 fishes on Christmas Eve. While my mom, sisters and I are busy prepping for Christmas Day, my Dad takes over Christmas Eve. In preparation he brings all the men in the family to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx where some of the old school Italians still remain. There they have a celebration of their own as they buy meats, cheeses, pastries and other holiday necessities.

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I had the pleasure of showing the Home and Family audience our Christmas Eve tradition. My dad had sent me a little note about the tradition of the 7 fishes when I was researching for the show:

“Dina, the feast of seven fishes was more so an Italian Catholic tradition which they fasted from meats. The number of fishes varies from the # of apostles to the 10 commandments etc. The thought in my family was the 7 days of Creation which includes the day of rest and the the number 7 which is believed to be God’s perfect number. Number 7 is completeness and perfection among other things. This in my family started in southern Italy near Naples the town was Sassano where my grandfather was born. In the 1960’s my grandmother was saved but still continued the tradition. It became a time for the family to be together and celebrate the birth of our Savior.”

Zuppa di Clams

Zuppa di Clams is an easy pasta dish with lots of flavor. This dish always appears on our Christmas eve table in honor of the seven fishes.


  • 6 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin

  • 5 cloves garlic cloves, sliced thin

  • 1 stalk celery, sliced thin

  • 1 carrot, grated

  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (I like to use Pastene)

  • 1 c chicken stock

  • 3 dozen vongole clams or small clams

  • 2 c dry white wine

  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 1 lb linguine, cooked according to package directions


  1. Heat oil in large sauce pan over medium heat.

  2. Saute garlic for two minutes then add in onion, celery and red pepper flakes. Saute until translucent in color, about 8-10 minutes.

  3. Add tomatoes, oregano, carrots, saute 4 min.

  4. Then add the chicken stock and white wine bring to a boil.

  5. Add clams, season with salt and pepper to taste, as well add the bay leaves and cover.

  6. Simmer together until the clams begin to open, about 5-6 minutes. Spoon over linguine or serve with crusty bread!