Cooking seafood always seemed so complicated to me ... until I tried it myself. It's really just about timing. If the ingredients are all prepped ahead of time, it is actually very easy!
The sauce comes together very quickly so timing is crucial. If you are worried about it all not being ready at the same time, it is better to have the spaghetti cooked and drained rather than taking a chance of overcooking the clams while waiting for the pasta.
Clams should be closed tight before cooking, just like mussels. If any are slightly open, tap gently on the countertop and they should start to close. That's good, it means they are alive! If they do not do anything, discard.
Place clams in a bowl of water for about a half hour to clean any grit from them, then drain. If they are fresh, you'll want to be sure they have spit out any sand. Store-bought clams are usually cleaned well already.
Spaghetti, 2 servings
3-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large fresh tomato, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 pound "pasta" clams, rinsed
White wine, about 1 cup
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Lemon juice, parmesan cheese
Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water. When there is about 5 minutes left for the pasta, start the sauce.
Heat a large saute pan and add a splash of olive oil. Add the garlic, saute for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped tomato, red pepper flakes and a good pinch of salt then saute for another 30 seconds. Add the clams, white wine and parsley. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until most of the clams are opened (discard any clams that do not open).
Add in the cooked and drained pasta, toss and serve immediately. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and ground black pepper.