Mildly garlicky and briny-sweet, this classic sauce can be put together while the linguine is boiling, providing the clams are shucked and chopped beforehand. Look for tiny to small little neck clams. When they are shucked, the meat should be pink and plump, with a clean, fresh smell. Serve the linguine with a bone-dry white wine before a fried or grilled fish dish.
Before opening the clams, protect the hand not holding the knife by wearing a heavy glove or by wrapping the palm of that hand completely with a kitchen towel. Shuck the clams, working over a bowl to catch all the clam juices. Slowly work a clam knife between the shells at the pointer end of the clam. Wiggle the knife blade to pry the shells apart, leaving the half shells attached at the hinge. If this proves too difficult, place the edge of the knife blade against the hinge connecting the half shells and pry the shells apart that way. Free the clam from the shell in one piece by running the knife blade along the lip of each half shell. Pick over the shucked clams to remove any pieces of shell. Place the clams and their liquid in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process, using quick on/off pulses, until the clams are coarsely chopped. Alternately, drain the clams in a sieve placed over a bowl. Let drain thoroughly, then mince the clams by hand.
Heat a large pot of generously salted water to boiling over high heat. Add the linguine. Stir with a fork until all strands are submerged and separated. Boil until the linguine is tender but still firm in the center, about 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oil, garlic and parsley in a large skillet over medium heat until the garlic and parsley are sizzling vigorously, about 2 minutes. Carefully add the clams and their liquid along with the wine; simmer until sauce is reduced by one quarter, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Drain the pasta in a colander, shaking to remove excess water. Return the pasta to the pot, place over low heat; add the clam sauce. Stir until the pasta is coated with sauce. Transfer to warmed serving plates and serve immediately.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.