Caputo’s Pasta with Clam Sauce

36 fresh clams or 2 3-1/2 oz. cans chopped clams
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 lb. pasta
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
lemon wedges

Wash clams with a brush under cold running water, do not let soak in cold water as the clams may open and lose some of their flavor. Place the clams in a large skillet with half of the olive oil over high heat for about 6 minutes or until the clams open, shaking the pan occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and remove the clams with a slotted spoon to a small bowl. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth or a sieve and combine with the clams, set aside.

Cook the pasta very al dente.

Meanwhile, put the remaining olive oil and the garlic in the skillet and heat over medium-high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes, do not brown the garlic. Remove the pan from the heat, add the clams, the reserved juices, the parsley, salt and pepper and mix well. Drain all but about 1/2 cup of water from the pasta and add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Mix well over medium heat for about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a serving platter and serve with the crushed pepper flakes and lemon wedges.

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