"Linguine con vongole, or 'with clams,' is one of John's faves. I make it often in the summer, but to warm it up for winter I add another layer of flavor and serve this version." —Rach
In a large bowl of ice water, scrub the clams well with a brush to get rid of any dirt and debris.
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.
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.
Divide the clams and sauce among shallow bowls. Serve with the bread.