A Classic Italian Pasta, Transformed into Baked Clams

March  2, 2016

This week I couldn’t stop thinking about baked clams.

I’ve been dreaming of a baked clam in amatriciana sauce, the classic Roman preparation with guanciale, tomato, Pecorino, and a little chile. (In regions of America where guanciale is hard to find, pancetta is often used as a substitute.)

Photo by James Ransom

So I started testing, and in tasting through different versions of my “baked clams amatriciana,” I decided that whole littleneck clams can be chewy and hard to eat. The solution? Steam open the clams, remove the meat from the shells, and dice it. Mix this with the sauce, add it all back into the shell, and bake until bubbling and fragrant.

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And almost every step of this recipe can be done ahead of time. As guests arrive, just fill the empty clam shells with the refrigerated clam mixture, top them with chopped parsley and finely grated Pecorino, and throw them in the oven.

You’ll only need 1/4 cup of amatriciana sauce to dress a dozen baked clams, though—and it’s not practical to make only 1/4 cup of sauce. So make these baked clams, then keep the leftover sauce on hand to add to quick pasta dinners, pots of beans, and toast all week long.

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Josh Cohen

Written by: Josh Cohen

Born and raised in Brooklyn, I’m perpetually inspired by the diversity of foods that exist in this city. I love shopping at the farmer’s market, making ingredients taste like the best versions of themselves, and rolling fresh pasta. I learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy, where I spent the first 6 months of my career as a chef. I've been cooking professionally in New York City since 2010.

1 Comment

amysarah March 2, 2016
This sounds like a great idea. I love Amatriciana, and its ingredients are naturals with clams. One thought though - I think I might use whole Littlenecks. I often make baked clams Oreganata with them, and while they have a nice clam-y chew, it's definitely not too much (unless perhaps overcooked.) The textural contrast with the sauce sounds like a plus to me.