Mauro Farella, from Italy, shows how to make a seafood
soup Neapolitan style.
Mauro Farella, his wife Carmen Stinga and their son
Marco (now 5) came to Dunedin in 2009 when Mauro took up the
position of professor of orthodontics at the University of
Otago School of Dentistry.
Since then they have had another child, Terence, who is
They come from Naples in the south of Italy and took time to
adjust to the Dunedin climate, he said with a laugh.
They enjoy living and cooking in Dunedin.
Although food is more expensive than in Italy, it is good
However, they miss some of the Italian cheeses. They cannot
find buffalo mozzarella like that produced near Naples, he
They both enjoy cooking. He particularly likes quick easy
dishes that taste delicious, he says.
In Naples this shellfish soup would include a wide variety of
clams. Crab meat, prawns or crayfish are also nice in it.
Shellfish soup, Neapolitan
Mauro's Neapolitan mussel and clam soup. Photos by Gregor
serves 4 as a starter
1kg fresh mussels
1kg fresh clams
150-200ml sauvignon blanc
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion or ¼ of a larger one
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 400g can roma tomatoes, whole, peeled without juice
plenty of Italian parsley
salt to taste
slices of ciabatta bread, toasted briefly, to serve.
Scrub mussels and clams, and remove any beards from the
Put the shellfish in a large pot over medium heat. Pour over
a generous glass of white wine and cover. Watch the pot and
as the shellfish open, move them to a bowl. The clams will
open first, then the mussels. Discard any that don't open.
When all are opened, strain the cooking liquid through a fine
strainer and set aside.
Chop the onion and garlic finely. Saute in a large frying pan
in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Take care not to
brown the garlic or it will be bitter. Add the tomatoes
without the juice and squash them with the back of a spoon.
Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes.
While the tomato sauce is cooking, shuck the shellfish,
leaving a few in their shells for garnish. Make sure the
beards and any tough bits of mussel are removed.
Add some of the cooking liquid to the tomato sauce. If there
is not enough to make a nice consistency, add water, and if
there is too much use only what you need. Turn down the heat
and simmer for another five minutes then add the mussels and
clams. Stir, wait for a minute then turn off the heat.
Sprinkle with plenty of chopped parsley and season to taste.
Salt is not usually required.
Serve in bowls with lightly toasted ciabatta slices, a
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black
• Don't overcook the shellfish as this will make them tough.
• Use a quality extra-virgin olive oil as this significantly
improves the taste. Mauro uses Italian.
• Fresh cherry tomatoes can be added to the sauce in summer.
• This sauce can also be used for spaghetti. Make the sauce a
little thicker by cooking longer or adding less reserved
• This can also be served as a main, just make the portions
• Greenshell mussels can be pale or an orange colour. The
pale ones are females and the darker ones male and he thinks
the males taste better, he says.
• Thanks to Afife Harris and Centre City New