Before adding the clams to the simmering spicy tomato garlic sauce, make sure that they are rinsed and drained well. Discard any shells that are open. Check that the shells are not damaged and every shell is tightly shut, or will close tightly when you tap it, since they should be alive. Do not add the clam water to the tomato sauce. You should also avoid overcrowding the clams in the pot. The clams will cook in the steam more than in the sauce but you want to get a good ratio of clams and sauce so that each clam is covered with a good amount of sauce. Add the clams by the handful and give it a good stir to evenly distribute the sauce throughout.
The clams should open up in about four to six minutes cooking in the liquid with the lid on. Opened shells mean they are done.If any of the clams do not open after cooking, discard these since it means that they were not alive before they were cooked and may have already decomposed and contaminated with toxins and bacteria. Make sure not to overcook the clams or they will become leathery and tough. It is best not to leave the pot while the clam cooks. Always cook the clams gently on low heat setting. Extending the heat or increasing the temperature will toughen the meat and ruin the dish.
While this is already quite delicious on its own, you can garnish the dish with fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or cilantro. This recipe also goes well with fish and other seafood like mussels or shrimps but the cooking time will vary. You can also make this recipe using other kinds of spicy sausages like hot Italian sausage or regular smoked sausage and adjust the spice with some red chili pepper or cayenne.