Rachael Ray's Agrodolce Clams with Red Sauce

"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
Publish date:
Agrodolce Clams with Red Sauce

Drink with: 2019 Maison Noir Love Drunk Rosé, $19. The berry notes work beautifully with tomato and chile flavors. 

Recipe by Rachael Ray

This recipe originally appeared in our Holiday 2020 issue. Get the magazine here

  • 4Servings


  • 3 dozen 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
  • 1/2 cup sweet (red) vermouth
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced or crushed Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 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


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

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. 

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.

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