Pizza with Fresh Clams, Garlic, Mozzarella, Romano, and Basil Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Recipe Facts

Active: 45 mins
Total: 3 hrs
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 1 recipe New York-style Pizza Dough, or 2 pounds store-bought pizza dough
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into rough chunks and drained
  • 6 ounces romano or parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
  • 36 live littleneck or cherrystone clams (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 12 to 15 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chile flakes, preferably Aleppo
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges


  1. Divide dough into three even parts and place each in a covered quart-sized deli container or in a zipper-lock freezer bag. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours before baking.

  2. Adjust oven rack to 6 inches under broiler and place stone or steel on rack. Preheat oven to highest possible temperature (500 or 550°F) for at least 45 minutes.

  3. When ready to bake, turn single dough ball out onto lightly flour surface. Gently press out dough into rough 8-inch circle, leaving outer 1-inch higher than the rest. Gently stretch dough into a 12 to 14-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick by draping over knuckles and gently stretching. Transfer to floured wooden pizza peel.

  4. Preheat broiler to high. Spread 1/3 of mozzarella and 1/3 of of romano evenly over surface. Spread a dozen clams over surface, making sure that the joint side is facing down. Scatter 4 to 5 basil leaves, 1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes, and sliced garlic over the top. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

  5. Transfer pizza to hot stone or steel and broil until edges are puffed and lightly charred, bottom is crisp, and clams have started to crack open, 3 to 6 minutes. Retrieve pizza with a metal peel and transfer to a cutting board. Allow to rest 1 minute. Meanwhile, switch oven back to 550°F to reheat stone for remaining pizzas.

  6. Using a thin offset metal spatula or a butter knife, finish prying open clams, discarding any that have remained completely closed. Shuck meat and pour meat and juices into wells left by shells. Cut pizza and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

  7. Repeat steps 4 and 6 for remaining pizzas.

Special equipment

Wood and metal pizza peels, baking stone or Baking Steel, pizza cutter

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