The radiators are gurgling and hissing, storm warnings coming in over the radio make 2-4 inches of snow sound like the end times. (Tcha, right) It’s December, kids! Time to get out the warm cider and cinnamon and apples and all that good stuff. When I was fantasizing about making pasta a day or two ago Sabina created this recipe for:
Pasta Vongole (Cockles)
Pasta for two people from Sabina Kookt!!
Buy some ready made fresh pasta, if you are not inclined to make it yourself.
2 teaspoons of good olive oil
1 large clove of garlic
parsley – fresh is best
1 glass of dry white wine
200 grams of cockles
What are? “Cockles are a popular type of edible shellfish in both Eastern and Western cooking. The distinctive rounded shells of cockles are symmetrical, and are heart-shaped when viewed from the end. Cockles are collected by raking them from the sands on beaches at low tide. However, the labor of collecting cockles is hard work…” retrieved from Wikipedia December 3, 2010.
If you can’t find cockles then use a can of minced clams. It is also possible to substitute fresh clams, about 6 per person.
First cook the pasta in boiling water. As that is cooking, heat the olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Cut or smash up a couple of garlic cloves and put them in the oil until is begins to smell fragrant. Add the vongole – Cockles – and any shells that break be sure to remove them and the rest of the cockle immediately. Once the shells open stir everything together gently. (Sabina says it takes the cockles as long as Paolo Ponto’s song to play on youtube for them to open. For your listening pleasure, here it is. “vieni via con me” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uj4pUD7YwI)
When the shells open there is steam and a nice bouillon, if there is not enough of this add a bit of white wine to finish the sauce. Bellissimo!
Drain the pasta and add it to the vongole in the pan, and gently mix it all together so the flavors combine. (If any of the cockles do not open – toss them out!) Serve up the pasta and add some chopped fresh parsley on top. You may want to have white wine with it or Belgian beer.
Cockles are probably unheard of here in the great north, but I understand from Sabina that you can buy quantities of them in Europe for two Euros. Since I grew up eating fresh seafood and clams – especially fried clams are my favorite food – this sounds delicious!
As I said, If there are no cockles to be had, you can use minced, canned clams. It’s not fresh, but will do in a pinch.
Good for the spirits and light on the palette. Enjoy.