Photo of Clams oreganata with pancetta by WW

Clams oreganata with pancetta

Points® value
Total Time
50 min
30 min
20 min
Think of this appetizer recipe as a marriage of earth and sea: briny, succulent clams and sweet, mountain-cured pork. It’s a cross between two Italian-American dishes: clams oreganata (bread crumbs and oregano) and clams casino (bread crumbs and bacon). It uses littleneck clams, native to the North Atlantic coast and larger than most clam varieties found in Italy. Look for the pancetta, the other key ingredient in this dish, alongside the specialty meats in the deli section of your supermarket. If shucking clams is not your thing, you can ask someone at the fish counter to do it for you.


Little neck clams

24 item(s), scrubbed and shucked, shells and liquor reserved


1½ oz, chopped (about 1/4 cup)


1 clove(s), large, minced

Panko breadcrumbs


Olive oil

2 tbsp(s)

Fresh oregano

2 tbsp(s), chopped

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 tbsp(s)

Lemon zest

½ tsp(s), grated

Black pepper

¼ tsp(s), ground


1 wedge(s), cut into wedges


  1. Arrange 24 clamshell halves on rimmed baking sheet. Place 1 clam into each shell. Carefully spoon some reserved clam liquor over each clam, leaving any grit at bottom of container of reserved clam liquor.
  2. Preheat oven to 475°F. In small nonstick skillet, cook pancetta over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic. Continue to cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Remove from heat. Push pancetta to 1 side of skillet. Pour off and discard any drippings.
  3. Stir breadcrumbs and 1 tbsp oil into pancetta until crumbs are evenly moistened. Let breadcrumbs cool slightly. Add oregano, cheese, lemon zest, black pepper, and any remaining clam liquor and stir until combined.
  4. Spoon 1 heaping tsp breadcrumbs loosely over each clam. (Do not pat crumbs down.) Drizzle tops with remaining 1 tbsp oil. Roast until crumbs are golden brown and crisp and clams are just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve hot with lemon wedges.
  5. Serving size: 3 clams