In a bowl or glass container, add the following: A generous half cup of olive oil, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, 6 cloves of garlic (3 chopped, 3 mashed), 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 3 tbs. UNsalted butter.
In a deep skillet, heat 3 tbs. vegetable oil. Add 4 dozen cleaned little neck clams. Cover on high heat until clams start to open and release their juices, 4-5 minutes. Add above sauce ingredients, stir and cover for another 3-5 minutes until all clams have opened and sauce is heated.
Concurrently prepare enough linguine to serve 4. Ladel clams and sauce over the pasta. Have a crusty bread on hand to sop up extra sauce.
We use a lot of garlic, you can use less. Never use salted butter. Clams have enough. The star is the sauce, finished by the nectar of the little necks.
Photos: G.F. Levine, M.D.