Combining two classic pizzas to create one ultimate one! This white clam roasted garlic pizza with garlic ricotta sauce, sweet clams, fresh mozzarella, and white wine sauce is an Italian seafood paradise!
White Clam Roasted Garlic Pizza
- 1 head garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 lb pizza dough divided in half
- 1 shallot minced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 lb fresh clams
- 5 sprigs thyme
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut head of garlic to expose the top. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap garlic in alunimum foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Remove foil and squeeze out garlic cloves.
- Increase oven to temperature to 550 degrees. Heat pizza stone if using.
- In a medium bowl, add 8 cloves roasted garlic and mash with a fork. Add ricotta, dried oregano and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large deep pan over medium heat. Add minced shallot, garlic, and red chili flakes and saute for 1 minute or until softened. Add clams, thyme, and white wine, and cover the pot. Bring to a boil and continue to simmer until clams open, about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove clams with a slotted spoon and set aside. Continue to simmer clam juices until reduced by half. Add butter and season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
- When clams are cool enough to touch, remove the meat from the shells. Roughly chop clam meat.
- Roll out pizza dough into a 12-inch circle using your hands. Tear mozzarella into smaller pieces and top pizza with 4 ounces of cheese. Place dollops of half of the garlic ricotta on top. Bake pizza for 7-8 minutes or until cheese is lightly charred and crust is golden brown. Repeat with remaining pizza dough, cheese, and garlic ricotta.
- Top pizza with cooked clams and drizzle clam sauce on top. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Watch how to make this:
When I landed a job as a research and development chef, one of the first meals we prepared was a clam pizza on naan dough. I had never tasted clam pizza before so I was immediately intrigued. The dish was straightforward with a white cheese sauce and canned clams but it was delicious. Fast forward many years later and I'm suddenly thinking about that pizza yet again.
And so, I decided to make my own version but make it even better with the help of roasted garlic and fresh clams. Make a roasted garlic ricotta sauce and spread it on pizza dough along with fresh mozzarella. While that's baking in the oven, cook fresh clams in a bright white wine broth and reduce the broth to make a finishing sauce. Top the pizza with the steamed clams, drizzle that beautiful sauce on top, and lunch is served! This white clam roasted garlic pizza checks off all the boxes: cheesy, briny, salty, savory, and tasty!
- Ricotta: A fresh Italian cheese with a soft, creamy texture and mild flavor.
- Pizza dough: I made my own pizza dough using my go-to formula. However, you can use store-bought pizza instead, or better yet, make sourdough pizza dough!
- Garlic: Although raw garlic has a strong pungent flavor, those flavors are dulled when it is roasted and the garlic becomes sweeter. Use a whole head of garlic for roasting.
- Clams: I used littleneck clams for this pizza because they are smaller in size with tender meat. For best results, use fresh clams. Fresh clams typically have a firmer texture with a stronger briny flavor than frozen clams.
- Red chili flakes: For a touch of spice, we use red chili flakes when cooking the clams. You can omit the red chili flakes if you prefer.
- Dry white wine: Use good quality dry white wine such as chardonnay, pinot grigio, and sauvignon blanc. Avoid heavily oaked or sweet white wines as they may overpower the subtle flavors of the dish.
- Fresh mozzarella: Unlike shredded mozzarella, fresh mozzarella has a creamier texture. However, you can use shredded mozzarella instead if you can't find fresh.
How to Make White Clam Roasted Garlic Pizza
Step 1: Make Ricotta Sauce
Ready to make some white clam roasted garlic pizza? Let's get to it! We're going to start by first making the ricotta sauce. Cut the head of garlic to expose the top and drizzle it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. We're not using the entire bulb but it's easiest to roast garlic when you roast the entire bulb.
Season the garlic with salt and pepper and wrap it in aluminum foil. Roast it for 35-40 minutes or until tender. Then, let it cool slightly, before squeezing out the roasted garlic cloves. You can roast the garlic up to 3 days in advance.
In a medium bowl, mash 8 cloves of the roasted garlic with a fork, reserving the remaining roasted garlic for another use. Add ricotta cheese, dried oregano, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and set it aside, allowing the flavors to meld.
Step 2: Cook the Clams
Now it's time to prepare the clams. Heat oil in a large deep pan over medium heat. Add minced shallots, garlic cloves, and red chili flakes and saute just until aromatic. Then, add the fresh clams, thyme sprigs, and a generous pour of dry white wine. You know the saying, don't cook with wine you wouldn't drink? That also applies here. The wine adds flavor to the broth so if you use one that doesn't taste good, you'll be able to notice in the finishing sauce.
Simmer the clams until the clams open, releasing their succulent juices and enhancing the broth even more. Remove the clams with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
Next, bring the broth to a simmer and reduce the liquid to intensify the flavors. Once it's reduced by half, add a touch of butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a final seasoning of salt and pepper.
While the broth is reducing, remove the clam meat from the shell, discarding the shells. Roughly chop the clams and keep them warm while you prepare the pizza.
Step 3: Bake Pizza
If you have a pizza stone this would be a great opportunity to use it. Just make sure to preheat it for at least one hour. If you don't have a pizza stone, you can also use a baking sheet, flipping it over to use the bottom. Preheat the baking sheet for 10 minutes before using.
Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-inch circle using your hands. Tear the fresh mozzarella into smaller pieces and place 4 ounces of the cheese on top of the pizza dough. Dollop half of the garlic ricotta mixture on top and bake the pizza for 7-8 minutes until the cheese is lightly charred and the crust is golden brown. While the first pizza is in the oven, I like to prepare the second pizza. That way, as soon as the first one comes out of the oven, you can pop the second one in.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
As soon as the pizza comes out of the oven, top it with the chopped clams. Drizzle some of that beautiful sauce on top and finish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.
This recipe takes pizza night to a whole new level, showcasing the unique combination of clams, roasted garlic, ricotta sauce, and fresh herbs. From the comforting aroma of the roasting garlic to the satisfying crunch of the perfectly baked crust, every step of the process is a celebration of flavor and texture. And hopefully, when you try this white clam roasted garlic pizza you'll share the feeling!
Can I use pre-made pizza dough?
Absolutely! If you prefer to save time, you can use store-bought pre-made pizza dough instead of making it from scratch. Look for pre-made pizza dough in the refrigerated or frozen section of your grocery store.
Can I make the garlic ricotta sauce ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the garlic ricotta sauce ahead of time. Simply store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Give it a quick stir before using it on the pizza.
Can I use a different type of cheese instead of fresh mozzarella?
Fresh mozzarella is traditionally used for its creamy and mild flavor that pairs well with the clams and roasted garlic. However, you can experiment with other cheeses if you prefer. Some good alternatives include shredded mozzarella, fontina, or a blend of Italian cheeses.
For more clam dish inspiration check out this spaghetti with clams and nori miso butter recipe!