Heat the oil
over high heat in a heavy nonreactive saucepan,
large enough to accommodate all the clams. Add the
garlic, onion, oregano, and hot red pepper flakes
and cook for 2 minutes or until the onion is tender.
Add the vermouth and clams. Cover and cook until the
clams open, about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on
their size, discarding any that do not open. Remove
the pan from the heat and, using tongs, transfer the
clams to a large tray or bowl.
When they are cool enough to handle, remove the clam
meat, reserving a handful in their shells for
garnish, if you like, and very coarsely chop any
extra-large clams; set aside.
Stir the butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper
into the saucepan.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted
water until slightly more al dente than usual. Drain
the pasta well and add it to the sauce in the pan.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and toss gently
for 1 minute or until the pasta absorbs most-but not
all-the sauce. Add the clams and toss just until
heated through. Transfer to a large warmed platter
and sprinkle with parsley, lemon thyme, lemon zest,
and capers, if using them. Bring to the table and
toss again, using two forks, before serving. Serve
with extra Parmesan cheese and pass the peppermill.
Makes 4 servings
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