Linguine with cockles and asparagus
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
1 onion, diced
500g cockles, rinsed well under running cold water
100ml white wine
150g linguine or other long pasta
250g asparagus, chopped into 3cm lengths
2 tbsp double cream
1. Start the onion frying in a slug of olive or rapeseed oil over a low heat.
2. While the onion is frying, add the cockles to a saucepan along with the wine and with the lid on, cook over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes until all the cockles have opened. If any are closed, give it another minute or two of cooking time, but then fish them out and throw those ones away.
3. Use a fine sieve placed over a bowl to drain the cockles and catch any stray bits of grit. Don’t throw the liquid away though: this is the base for your sauce. Remove the cockle meat from about two thirds of the shells and place both the naked and be-shelled cockles to one side for now.
4. Rinse out the cockle pan and use to cook your pasta. If you set a timer for the pasta countdown now, it will make it easier to tell when to add the asparagus. If not, devise a way of knowing when the pasta has three minutes of cooking time left.
5. Add the cockle cooking liquid to the fried onions along with the cream, and gently cook to reduce and thicken the sauce a little while your pasta finishes cooking.
6. With three minutes to go, add the asparagus to the pasta and raise the heat briefly to bring it back to the boil. When the pasta and asparagus are ready, drain, keeping a little pasta water in the pan, and toss the asparagus, pasta and pasta water with the sauce. Add the cockles and gently mix to distribute the cockles and serve.