Step one: put a pot of pasta water on to boil.
Step two: get stuff ready. Prep your Italian parsley, mandolin your garlic, crush your whole black pepper corns in you mortar and pestle (if you’re not using dried chile flakes). Open your can of clams; don’t lose a single drop of that clam juice.
Tell your dinner companions to wash their hands and set the table. NOW. Scream at them if they try to find something else to do.
Step three: cook stuff. When your water boils, salt it with a fistful of salt, enough to make the water taste salty. Drop in your spaghetti. In a saucepan, toast the black pepper or chile flakes, add more olive oil than you think is necessary, and then drop in the garlic and clam juice (but not the clams). Simmer it on medium low or whatever.
Step four: marry it all together. When the spaghetti is al dente, pull it out of the water with some tongs or a spider strainer together and drop it into the saucy saucepan, along with a ladle or two of pasta water. (You’re done with that pasta water now, use it to boil something else). In the saucepan, turn the flame up to high and start stirring. This is a good time to add a little more salt, if your water wasn’t salty enough.
So now you’ve got a saucepan full of all your ingredients over a screaming hot flame. Scream at your companions to sit down at the damn table. They might try to get everybody’s drink order, you tell them SIT THE /F/ DOWN and wait for their pasta.
Your job is to stir and reduce until that liquid has condensed into a thick film of a sauce. Keep stirring, pulling the pan off the flame occasionally and blowing on it, releasing clouds of steam. Keep stirring. Keep stirring. Stir until the sauce clings to the spaghetti; to the point that when your spatula scrapes the bottom of saucepan, the sauce is so thick that the spot where you scraped stays dry. Now drop the clams and half of the parsley into saucepan together and give the whole thing a final stir. Get it all nice and distributed.
Step five: dish it up. Lift the finished spaghetti out of the saucepan with the tongs and lower it into the serving dishes, turning your plate with your free hand so that the spaghetti pile falls into a tall twist. Finish the dish with a drizzle of expensive olive oil and a pinch of Italian parsley.
Tell your dining partners to eat NOW. If they do something stupid like try to start a prayer or something, slap them on the hand and tell them they should have prayed two minutes ago. It is DISRESPECTFUL to let this get cold. If they complain that it’s too hot to eat right away, GOOD, you have done your job. They have to eat it at the exact moment that it’s tolerable for them to eat, and not after.
If they let your pasta get cold, ask them why they don’t respect your effort to get hot food in front of them. Make a note to yourself never to make this dish for them again. Let them reheat a slice of pizza or some garbage, they don’t deserve hot spaghetti with a can of clams. Don’t waste your effort on someone who lets your hot food get cold; give up on them. Peanut butter and jelly next time. Cold rice and ketchup. Soggy bowl of Cheerios. Who cares, they don’t know how to act.