Linguine with Cockle Sauce (even better than Clam Sauce)

Wow, that old saying of “You learn something new every day,” really is true, isn’t it?  I was thinking of writing a cute little title for this dish, playing on an old Mother Goose rhyme; Mary, Mary, quite contrary…etc, until I read the history and significance of the rhyme.  Um, let’s not use that particular imagery on the cooking blog. Yikes! :P So, a simple title will have to suffice, because the only other clever thing I can think up using the word, “cockle,” is probably also inappropriate for a cooking blog. ;) lol

linguini with cockle sauce

It’s Cockle season!  Yes!  Cockles are (in my opinion) better than clams….they are a type of mollusk, small and heart shaped, and if you really would like to know all about them, here is a link to Wikipedia detailing the exact nature of the creature.  What Wikipedia doesn’t tell you, though, is that the cockle is delicious!  It’s sweeter than a clam, and quite tender and succulent.

ZenChef over at Chefs Gone Wild made a delectable looking clam risotto the other day, which I had planned on trying this week.  Unfortunately, my market’s clams left much to be desired.  Which is strange, considering that they are almost always available and fresh and begging to be purchased and made into something wonderful.  They did, however, have cockles, and I think that I’m almost happy that the cockles were screaming at me instead.  The delicately sweet flavor lends itself really, really well to this garlicky white sauce,  And over pasta?  Yum.  I will definitely try Zen’s delicious risotto soon, though.  :)


1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 medium onion, minced
3-4 small dried cayenne peppers
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1 1/2 pounds (750 grams) linguine
2 pounds (1 kilo) cockles (soaked in salted ice cold water for a minimum of 1 hour)
1/4 cup butter, in pieces
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
*optional, but recommended* 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup water
freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste


Get your water going for the pasta…you’ll want to salt it fairly heavily and bring to a rolling boil.
Meanwhile, begin your sauce.
Heat olive oil in a wide, medium depth soup pot.
Saute garlic first, just until beginning to turn golden, then add onions and saute until translucent and tender.
Add cayennes, wine and water and cook about 3-5 minutes over moderate heat.
By now, your pasta water might be ready, so pop the noodles in there and prepare according to package directions.
When the pasta is done, drain well and return to the pot.
Ok, back to the sauce.
Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, then add the cockles and cover.
Cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes or so, until cockles have opened (discard any that haven’t opened, they’re not fit to eat).
Remove from heat, add butter and parsley and stir.
Add cornstarch slurry if using and stir some more, then reserve.
Is your pasta back in the pot? Ok, then it’s time to pour the cockles and sauce over your pasta and stir well to combine.
Discard any empty shells you find.
Sprinkle with parm to taste and enjoy!
Oh! Be sure to have more of that dry white on hand to drink with this dish. ;)

14 Responses to “Linguine with Cockle Sauce (even better than Clam Sauce)”

  1. I like the combination of cockles and pasta you have going on here. And the garlic white sauce is the perfect final touch. Yummy!

  2. Cockles (kithonia in Greek)are much tastier than clams. Their flavour is like a combo of scallops and mussels..fantastic.

    I wish I could find them here in Canada.;(

  3. I’ve never heard of cockles. This dish looks delicious! I really need to get into cooking shellfish more.

  4. I never heard of cockles, either but you’ve certainly made them sound and look appealing!

  5. Nikki, I want that right now! I can almost taste it–lotsa garlic, just the way I like it. YUM!

  6. I’ve never heard of them, but it sounds like I might prefer them to clams. Looks delicious!

  7. this dish looks so fresh and tasty!

  8. This is about the closest I’ve ever been to cockles.

  9. Looks so good! Stick a fork in my hand, I want to dig into that dish. It sure beats my pork chops I had tonight. Well done.

  10. Ah, a wonderful plate of comfort food. Cockles are rather underrated around here,

  11. I am not sure if I would ever find a cockle here, but we could probably use bay clams or something like that for this inspirational dish Nikki:D

  12. Thanks so much, Ben! :)

    Peter, you’re right! They are sort of reminiscent of scallops! Looks like it’s time for a trip to Greece! ;)

    Psychgrad, cockles are soooo good! If you can find them, definitely give them a go. :)

    Jj, I hadn’t actually seen a cockle until my first trip to Spain, but it’s been love ever since. :)

    Elle, dinner’s at 3! I’ll set a place for you guys. :)

    RecipeGirl, seriously, cockles are better (imo) than clams, smaller, sweeter, tenderer (lol, more tender). Thanks! :)

    Thank you, Ashley! :)

    *passes fork to Chuck* Hi! Nice to meet you! You have a beautiful blog. Thanks for stopping by, Chuck! :)

    Nina, these cockles pale in comparison to your fabulous seafood platter! *faints* Wanna trade? lol ;)

  13. Val! We posted at the same time! lol Clams would work just fine in this, though if you do find cockles? Give them a shot. ;) :)

  14. [...] remember last week, when I was telling you how badly I wanted to try ZenChef’s (over at Chefs Gone Wild) Clam Risotto?  Well, I did [...]

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