In a large saute pan, heat 1/4 cup oil, garlic, and chile pepper over medium-high heat and cook until garlic is lightly brown. Remove garlic from pan. Add clams and cover pan. Cook until clams steam open, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove clams from pan and place in a dish. Add some steaming juices to keep clams warm. Cover. Reserve remaining steaming juice; it should be about 1 cup.
Pour 1 cup reserved juice into blender and add chickpeas. Process until smooth. Season with salt, if necessary, and pepper. Divide puree among 4 shallow bowls. Top with clams and sprinkle with parsley. Combine the lemon zest and remaining olive oil, and drizzle over the top. Serve right away with toasted bread, if desired.
Serving suggestion: 4 slices toasted country bread.
Recipe courtesy of Rocco Dispirito