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
bucantini (or other long skinny pasta shape)
plump garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with a heavy pinch of kosher salt
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.