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Feb 12, 2011 09:24 AM

New Haven Pizza Question

Do the places that make a clam pizza use tomato or alfredo sauce? The reason I'm asking is that I found a place here in CA that makes a clam and garlic pizza but does not indicate the sauce they use. I would think that the N.H. pizza would have a white sauce which is what I would prefer. Since it seems to have originated there, I would like to know what is correct.

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  1. It varies............
    Pepe's 'famous' clam pie is white.

    I frequent Sally's and get a red clam, or red clam and bacon pie.

    Way back when, Catholics didn't eat meat on Fridays, so the white pie with clams made sense. Apizza places often saved money by using bacon drippings in the tomato sauce instead of just using oil (I worked in a New Haven Pizza place during the early seventies and we'd precook a case of bacon at a time, pouring off the grease into a large pot to start the sauce), so observant Catholics wouldn't eat a red pie on Fridays.

    So, it's not a matter of what is correct or authentic, but of what you like.

    I've been eating RED Clam pies on Wooster Street for more than 50 years, I'm not interested in a white pie of any variety.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bagelman01

      Thanks, Bagelman. I wasn't aware of how they were made or that it was similar to the linguine dish.

      14 Candlewood Lake Rd Ste 7, Brookfield, CT 06804

    2. The classic Pepe's white clam pie does not use a "sauce," per se. And it is most definitely not an alfredo sauce. The sauce on the pie comes from the liquor of the shucked clams mixing with the olive oil and grated cheese. Oregano and copious amounts of chopped garlic add flavor also. There is nothing else on a Pepe's white clam pie besides these ingredients.

      5 Replies
      1. re: plien69

        So it's similar to what I get when ordering linguine with clam sauce (white). That's what I'm looking for. Now I know what to ask for

        1. re: mucho gordo

          Mucho, the linguini with clam sauce (red or white) would not be made with grated cheese, which is used on Pepe's white clam pie,.

          Traditionally, Italians did not use cheese in fish/shellfish dishes, but grated peccorino was used on apizza in New Haven (regardless of other toppings)(predates the mozzarella craze).

          1. re: bagelman01

            <<the linguini with clam sauce (red or white) would not be made with grated cheese>>

            Oh, but it WOULD be at my house--rather, not made with, but served on top. Guess it depends on which Italian is in the kitchen! And always Pecorino Romano a Casa Katty. ;P

            1. re: kattyeyes

              and don't forget the red pepper flakes <G>.