Combine butter, garlic, onion and celery in a saucepan. Braise over medium-low heat until tender but not brown. Add the flour, and mix to make a roux.
Drain clams, reserving juice.
In a separate saucepan, combine clam juice, half-and-half, thyme and salt. Heat until just below boiling. Add to roux, and cook until sauce thickens. Add clams, stirring gently to mix throughout the sauce.
Serve over noodles.Yields: 6