Italian Clams Casino

Coming up with a new and fun party app rather than reverting to the favorite classics is always difficult and risky. I never thought to make clams casino before, but I enjoy them at restaurants all the time, so why not try it? They are not too heavy or filling and are a great appetizer. My version has no bread crumbs and I used pancetta instead of bacon for an Italian twist. Bacon and oregano would be a traditional route to go which is also delicious. You certainly can add breadcrumbs to my recipe below by adding in the pan the same time as the cheese, but I honestly feel they were necessary.

You can make this recipe in the oven as I did or on the grill so it’s good for any season or holiday. These are a great appetizer but with the delicious liquid leftover I thought about pouring it all over a bowl of linguine. That sauce would be incredible over pasta for dinner or with some nice crusty Italian bread to dunk! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1-2 shallots, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Fresh chopped parsley
  • 3-4 tbsp Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped pancetta
  • Little neck clams (25-35)
  • Optional: cayenne pepper and/or black pepper for some heat

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500.

You should take the time to really dice your ingredients small and evenly so when you eat a clam all the flavors blend together well.

Put olive oil in the pan and sauté pancetta for a few minutes until it gets crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Place clams in the oven for about 5-7 minutes until they open.

Meanwhile add the peppers, shallots, garlic and to the pan. Season with cayenne and fresh cracked black pepper. Add butter and parsley and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add wine and reduce down.

Take the pan off the heat and add cheese to your mixture.

Discard any clams that don’t open. Change your oven to broil.

Remove the tops from all the clams and spoon mixture in each one- be generous! Add a little extra cheese on top.

Broil for a few minutes until everything browns. Finish with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice and serve!

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Serve and enjoy!

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