Clammy Clam Pie


You’ll use the clams two ways here–both in a garlicky basil strewn cream sauce that serves as the base for this pie, and in the shell right on top, for double clam flave. Store bought pizza dough makes this easy to execute on any day of the week but if you’re feeling ambitious, PLEASE go ahead and make your own dough!!

Active Time: 1 hr

Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins



  • 3 medium shallots
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 fresno or serrano chile
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 lemon


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour, for dusting


  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Parmigiano-reggiano, for topping and serving



  • 1 pound store bought pizza dough
  • 4 pounds littleneck clams

1. Do some prep:

  • Remove a 1 pound ball of pizza dough from the fridge and let it come to room temp while you prep.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees. If your oven goes to 550, go for it! Place a pizza stone or an overturned sheet pan in the oven.
  • Peel and thinly slice 3 shallots and 5 garlic cloves.
  • Thinly slice 1 serrano chile.
  • Mince the stems from a bunch of basil, reserving the leaves for serving. Cut 8 paper thin slices from one lemon. Reserve the rest of the lemon.
  • Tear 3 ounces of fresh mozzarella into quarter-sized pieces.
  • Scrub 4 pounds of Littleneck clams.

2. Make the white sauce:

  • In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and basil stems. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until softened and the slightest hint of golden starts to appear on the edges of the shallots, about 6-8 minutes. Add ¾ cup of heavy cream, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a brisk simmer and cook, scraping the sides and bottom of the pot with a silicone spatula, until the cream is reduced and quite thickened, 5-7 minutes. The reduced amount of the mixture should measure a generous ¾ cup. Remove from the heat and transfer to the refrigerator until cool.

3. Meanwhile, steam the clams:

  • Bring an 1/8-inch of water to a boil in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. You just need a whisper of water to get the clams steamed, and you don’t want to dilute the clam liquor with more water than necessary.
  • Add the clams and steam over high heat until you begin to hear the shells opening. Begin transferring any clams that have opened to a bowl. Continue steaming with the pot covered, peaking from time to time and transferring clams as they open to the bowl, until all clams have opened, about 3-5 minutes. Discard any that aren’t opening. Add any liquid that may have accumulated at the bottom of the bowl of opened clams back to the pot.
  • Continue to simmer the clam liquor in the pot, on high, until it reduces to 1-2 tablespoons and remove from heat, about 10 minutes.
  • Pick the clams from all but 8 or 10 of the shells and coarsely chop. Add the chopped clams to the cream mixture, along with the reduced clam liquor. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the unshelled clams aside–you’ll add them to the pizza later on!

4. Build and bake the pizza:

  • If using a pizza stone and have a pizza peel or pan, gently stretch a one-pound piece of pizza dough to a 14-inch round, using flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Place on a floured pizza peel. If you’re baking on a sheet pan, stretch the dough to a 9” x 15” rectangle and transfer it to the back of a floured sheet pan.
  • Spread the cream mixture all over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border for crust. Scatter the lemon slices, mozzarella, and sliced chilies over the top. As you build the pizza, gently shake the sheet pan or pizza peel to ensure that the dough isn’t sticking. You’ll need it to release when you transfer it to the oven.
  • Drizzle the pizza with olive oil, grate some parmigiano-reggiano over the top, and give it one last shake. Open the oven door. Starting from the back of the pizza stone or sheet pan, slide and shake the pizza off of whatever you built it on, in one swift movement, so that the dough releases onto the stone or pan in the oven.
  • Bake until the pizza is deeply golden around the edges and nearly baked through, about 12-14 minutes (note: this will vary depending how hot your oven runs, if it looks baked and crispy sooner, use your judgment, or if it seems to be taking longer to brown and cook through, leave it in!!). Open the oven door and quickly scatter the clams in shell on top of the pie. Continue to bake, just to warm them through, 90 seconds more
  • Remove pizza from the oven, drizzle with olive oil and hit the top of the pie with one more grating of parm. Scatter the basil leaves and squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon half over.

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