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Rachael Ray's Agrodolce Clams with Red Sauce

Rachael Ray's Agrodolce Clams with Red Sauce


  • 3 dozens littleneck clams or 3 lb. cockles

  • 3 tbsp. EVOO

  • 3 small shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 6 fat cloves of garlic, thinly sliced or chopped

  • 4 tbsp. sun-dried tomato paste or regular tomato paste

  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped, or 1 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1 tbsp. Calabrian chile paste or 1 tsp. crushed red pepper

  • 1 tsp. ground fennel or fennel pollen or fennel seed

  • ½ cup sweet (red) vermouth

  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced or crushed Italian tomatoes

  • ½ cup drained sweet Peppadew or sweet pickled cherry peppers, chopped, or sweet red pepper relish

  • Salt and pepper

  • A fat handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

  • Ciabatta or other crusty bread, for serving


  • Step 1

    In a large bowl of ice water, scrub the clams well with a brush to get rid of any dirt and debris. 

  • Step 2

    In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the EVOO, three turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the shallots and stir until they begin to soften, a minute or two. Add the garlic, tomato paste, oregano, chile paste, and ground fennel. Stir until the tomato paste darkens in color, about a minute more. Add the vermouth and cook until the liquid starts to reduce, 30 seconds or so. Stir in the tomatoes and peppers, then let the mixture come to a bubble. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. 

  • Step 3

    Add the clams and cover the pan. Cook until the clams open, 7 to 8 minutes (discard any that don’t open). Stir in the basil.

  • Step 4

    Divide the clams and sauce among shallow bowls. Serve with the bread.