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ounces spaghetti or bucatini
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
teaspoon red pepper flakes
cup dry white wine
pounds littleneck or manila clams, scrubbed
cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Lemon wedges, to serve
I don't understand why you throw away the garlic. I saw you did that in at least one other recipe. Does leaving the garlic in the dish make it too garlicky? (for me that is NOT at thing!)
Hi Emily -
When we were taught this dish (and others) in Italy, we learned that Italian cooks often use whole, smashed garlic cloves to season the cooking oil to provide a subtle garlic flavor. This allows other, more delicate, ingredients in the dish to be the star since garlic has a tendency to overpower a dish.
The Milk Street Team
I am often leary when I see fresh live littleneck clams for sale in the supermarket. I'm never sure that they are alive. Some of the Asian supermarkets where I live sell bags of frozen "littleneck clams", which I use for this dish. I often will supplement one bag of frozen with one can of "baby clams". Canned baby clams can be found in many supermarkets around the country. The water in the canned clams is very flavorful. This way I get the appearance of the clam shells in the spaghetti, with a good clam flavor as well. I used to use just canned baby clams, which was also delicious.