Get a good brand of canned whole baby clams. Reserve the liquid for use in the "brodo". Wow, I just had a brilliant thought! How about New England Clam Chowder risotto ?!!!
Quick recipe off the top of my head:
-Render finely minced salt pork and put aside on brown paper to absorb excess fat
-Saute diced onions in butter and olive oil, then add rice
-Prepare the risotto in the traditional way, using a brodo made with the drained clam juice, additional clam juice and/ or chix stock. I think you would leave the wine out of this recipe so as not to detarct from the predominant chowder flavor
-At the end, add the rendered salt pork and finish with heavy cream, butter and garnish with finely chopped scallions or chives and a couple of turns of black pepper
Do you have access to decent ingredients - carnaroli or arborio rice (fresher the better, but I've always used sealed imported stuff)? decent chicken stock? good clams?
I've seen some recipe variants that use a variety of clams - flavorful littlenecks for meat (and plating appeal) and a few quahogs to supply the liquid.
Risotto is a dish that sort of tethers you near the pot, to stir in the stock and then the final cheese/butter... so if you plan to have a lot of other stuff going on, or don't have a "sous chef" to help you, just be aware of the limitations.
Are you planning to do a second plate as well - risotto or pasta often serve as the first plate, then the salad, then the second plate - which is usually a protein, like a veal or fish dish..
I live in New England and have access to the "Best" seafood around. We also have many local farmstands around the area, so produce is never a problem either. Now I am thinking I can make a basic risotto with some littlenecks on top, and as a second dish maybe a stuffed lobster tail and finish with a nice frozen cocktail.
I can't contribute anything about the clams...but...
Risotto is easy and great. For summer, I enjoy a lemon and sundried tomato risotto.
have some stock boiling in a pot (I use veggie, but chicken is fine)
sauté some shallots and garlic in oil/butter. Once translucent (watch to make sure garlic doesn't burn), add in the risotto and coat with the fat/shallot mixture and toast lightly. Add in two ladle fulls of stock and stir. stir often and once liquid is pretty absorbed, add another ladle two or full. repeat until risotto is pretty much done. Add some white wine and let risotto finish. When finished, add some lemon juice, lemon zest, chopped sundried tomatoes and freshly grated/shredded Parmesan.
For a side, I enjoy roasted asparagus. You could also sautee some zucchini for a side, but the roasted asparagus is easier (no sauteeing, just stick in the oven, and remove!).
There are a few additions to that recipe that I foresee next time I make it...
either fresh asparagus or some peas.
If you are lucky enough to live where there is some great farm stands or something, a side salad of fresh tomatoes, spring ("candy") onion, and basil might be lovely with it.