A Valastro Valentine’s Day tradition!

8 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
3 dozen fresh littleneck clams (cleaned)
1 and 1/2 pounds linguini
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, saute the garlic in the olive oil over medium-low heat until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the bottled clam juice and season lightly with salt.
When the pasta water is boiling, salt it, and add the linguini. Cook until al dente. (See note)
Meanwhile, bring the clam sauce to a boil and add the rinsed clams. Cover the pot and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the clams are thoroughly opened, about 10 minutes. (Discard any clams that have not opened.)
Drain the pasta and return it to the empty pot. Add the clam sauce, lemon, and half the parsley to the pot (reserve the clams): toss with tongs to coat and moisten.
Transfer the pasta and juices to a large serving bowl or 6 wide, shallow bowls. (The pasta dish should be brothy, with lots of sauce.)
Note: If the clams are large, chop half or all of the clam meat and mix into the pasta: discard any empty shells.
Al Dente: Al dente means “to the tooth,” and it’s how we Italians like to eat our pasta. To achieve al dente pasta, a good rule of thumb is to shave a minute or two from the cooking time on the box.
Tip: If your local market does not carry clam juice, substitute with seafood stock!