In a large pot combine the clams and white wine and bring to a boil. Cover and steam the clams over moderately high heat about 5 to 10 minutes, checking them after 5 minutes and transferring them as they open to a bowl. Discard any clams that do not open after 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and reserve the liquid in a measuring cup.
In another large pot bring at least 4 quarts salted water to a boil and cook the linguine until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain linguine in a colander.
With a small knife remove the meat from 24 of the largest clams, discarding the shells, and in a food processor pulse just until chopped coarse. In a large pot heat the olive oil over moderately high heat and quickly toast the sliced garlic until just golden. Add the hot pepper flakes and stir. Add the reserved cooking liquid from the clams and bring to a simmer. Stir in the pureed clams and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the linguine, parsley, basil, remaining clams in their shells, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Serve immediately
Recipe courtesy of Gourmet Magazine