When making this classic Neapolitan dish, it's best to use small clams that are no longer than 2.5cm.
You need to time the preparation and cooking of everything to ensure the sauce and pasta are ready to serve at the same time. Do not even think of adding parmesan to this dish, it will ruin the taste of the clams.
200g good-quality dried spaghetti
40ml olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
Red pepper flakes, to taste
400-500g fresh clams
About 120ml dry white wine
50g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Italian parsley, chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, put the oil and garlic in a large pan or wok over a low flame.
Heat until the garlic is soft and fragrant, but don't let it take on any colour.
Turn the heat up to medium, add the red pepper flakes and stir constantly for about 30 seconds.
Stir in the clams and white wine and put a tight-fitting lid on the pan.
Shake the pan frequently and cook over a medium-high flame until the clams open. This should take about two minutes.
When the pasta is al dente, use a ladle to scoop out about 100ml of the cooking liquid (the starch in the water from the pasta will help to thicken the sauce).
Drain the pasta, but don't rinse it. Put the pasta into the skillet or wok, add about 60ml of the cooking liquid and stir to combine.
Add black pepper, the pieces of cold butter and a little salt (if needed). Stir constantly over a low flame until the sauce lightly coats the pasta.
Sprinkle with the chopped parsley, then divide between two bowls and serve immediately.