Truly a meal in a bowl, this substantial clam chowder is made extra luscious with the addition of whipping cream. Parmesano Reggiano cheese, the pride of Parma, Italy, is so flavorful that even the smallest amount packs this chowder with punch.
If using, chop fresh clams, reserving juice; set clams aside. Strain clam juice to remove bits of shell. (Or drain canned clams, reserving the juice.) If necessary, add enough water to the reserved clam juice to make 1-1/2 cups total liquid; set aside.
In a 4-quart Dutch oven cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan. Drain bacon on paper towels; crumble bacon and set aside. Add onions and celery to bacon drippings; cook and stir over medium heat until tender.
Stir in wine; bring to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the reserved clam juice, potatoes, bouillon granules, thyme, black pepper, and crushed red pepper into Dutch oven. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. With the back of a fork, mash potatoes slightly against side of pan.
In a medium bowl stir together milk, whipping cream, and flour; add to potato mixture. Bring to a simmer; cook and stir until slightly thickened. Stir in clams and the 3/4 cup cheese. Reduce heat. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes more or until heated through and cheese is melted. Sprinkle each serving with crumbled bacon and, if desired, parsley and additional cheese.