4 dozen littleneck clams in their shells, the smaller the better (you might buy a couple extra in case some fail to open)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 pound uncooked spaghetti
3/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
If necessary, scrub the clam shells under cold running water with a stiff-bristle brush.
In a large pot bring 2 gallons of water to a boil. Add the salt and spaghetti and cook according to package directions or until al dente, about 8 minutes.
While the spaghetti is cooking, in a large sauté pan heat the olive oil over medium heat and cook the garlic until golden and fragrant, but not brown, about 1 minute.
Add the clams in their shells and the white wine, bring to a boil, cover the pan, and cook over medium heat until the clams open; shaking the pan seems to help them along. As they open, remove them with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl to prevent them from overcooking and becoming rubbery. This should take a few minutes, and you may need to add more wine. Discard any that do not open. At the end, you will have removed all the clams.
Drain the cooked spaghetti and add it to the sauté pan, stirring it into the garlic-wine sauce until it is thoroughly coated. Sprinkle on the parsley. To serve, put the pasta in large individual bowls with the clams on top. Serves 4.