Author Notes: I love my husband, but I can't believe I married a man who doesn't like clams and spaghetti, which is one of my favorite dishes of all time. On those rare occasions when I have the opportunity to make dinner for myself, this is what I crave. Luckily, it's quick and easy to prepare. I use ample red pepper flakes because I like a lot of spice. The most important part of this recipe is finishing the pasta in the winey clam broth. That gives the whole dish a major flavor booster. —JoyManning
cockles (or littlenecks), rinsed and scrubbed
ounces bucantini (or other long skinny pasta shape)
plump garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with a heavy pinch of kosher salt
teaspoon red pepper flakes
tablespoons olive oil
sun-dried tomatoes, minced
cup dry white wine
tablespoons minced parsley
- Soak the cockles in a large bowl of cold water mixed with 1 tablespoon of baking soda for 1 hour. This helps the critters purge themselves of any sand or grit they harbor.
- After the cockles have soaked, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and add the pasta.
- Meanwhile, add the garlic, pepper flakes, and oil to the bottom of a pot or skillet over medium-high with a tight fitting lid that is large enough to accommodate the pasta later. Fry this mixture for about a minute, add the cockles, the tomatoes, and the wine, bring to a boil, lid, and reduce to simmer.
- In about two minutes, the shells will start popping open. Remove the cockles as the shells open and put them aside in a bowl. (I did this because overcooked shellfish are gross; I didn’t want them exposed to heat for one minute longer than needed.)
- Add the pasta (which should be roughly halfway cooked by now) to the simmering wine and clam broth that entered into the equation when the shells opened and a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking liquid. Continue cooking the pasta about 5 more minutes, until it is al dente. Feel free to add some more pasta cooking liquid if it appears to be drying out.
- When the pasta is cooked, return the cockles to the pot and add the parsley. Toss to combine. Serve at once.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Home Alone Dinner