When preparing clams, Betty removes the dark stomachs: “They wouldn’t hurt the recipe, but I remove them for aesthetic reasons.” She bakes the mixture in littleneck clam shells and frequently makes a double batch so she can freeze half to keep on hand for unexpected company. “You can use canned clams in this recipe if you don’t have access to fresh ones.”
Remove stomachs from clams and grind clams in a food mill or chop them by hand until you have 1 cup of clams and liquid. Cook onion, celery, and green pepper in 4 tablespoons butter until vegetables are tender, but not brown. Stir in flour, cheese, and seasonings. Add ¼ cup of crushed crackers, and mix well. Stir in clams with their liquid, and cook and stir until mixture is thick and bubbly. Divide mixture among 15 to 18 littleneck clam shells, or 10 to 12 larger clam shells, or spoon into a casserole dish (as a last resort). Combine remaining crumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter and sprinkle over filled shells. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.