For 6 as a main course
1kg fresh cockles
2 or 3 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes in juice
A glass of chilled dry white wine
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 450g of dried linguine
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Wash the cockles in plenty of cold water and scrub the shells with a brush. Discard any that are broken shells or those which feel heavy (they are probably full of sand). If any shells are open, tap them sharply on the work surface and, if they do not close, discard them as they are dead. Leave them to soak in a bowl of fresh cold water for 10 minutes, then rinse again until the water runs clear, and then drain them.
Heat the oil in a pan (large enough to eventually hold the sauce and the spaghetti and which has a lid) over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until it is golden brown. Tip in the chilled wine (it should bubble and sizzle) and scrape up any garlic that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano and sugar and leave to simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened – this will take about 10 minutes
Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as necessary. Remove the pan from the heat.
Put a pan of water to boil, add a tbsp of salt and when the water comes to the boil, add the linguine. Bring the water back to the boil and cook for 8 -10 minutes or until the pasta is just cooked through.
While the linguine is cooking, return the pan of sauce to medium heat and stir in the cleaned cockles, cover the pan with the lid and leave for about 5 minutes or until the shells of the cockles have opened. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce with the chopped parsley and stir it well. Make sure the food is hot and serve it straight away on warm plates.