Start bringing the pasta water to a boil. When you add salt, use a little less than usual.
While following the steps below, cook 8 ounces of pasta slightly less than al dente, as it will finish cooking in the sauce.
In a saucepan large enough to fit the clams in no more than about two “layers,” heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add the clams, and cover with a lid. Shake and stir occasionally. It will take about 8-10 minutes (depending on the heat) until the clams open up.
When the clams have all opened up, put a strainer in a bowl to catch all the cooking liquids when draining the clams.
Remove the meat from most of the cooked clams, but also leave some in the shell. The clams left in the shell make an excellent presentation when serving, and the clams removed from the shell will get the full pan sauce treatment on all sides.
Using the same saucepan you just cooked the clams in, heat 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and add 1 tablespoon (or 2) minced garlic and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Let the garlic (and pepper flakes) soften for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Put the clams (including the ones you left in the shell) back into the pan and give it a good stir.
Crank up the heat and add 1 cup of dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc works great) and let the wine reduce (steam) for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat.
Add ½ cuppasta water and the cooked and drained pasta, and give it another good stir. Taste and add salt as needed.
Drizzle with another 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and ¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley. Use tongs to serve. Enjoy!