Smokey Cockles with Spaghetti

There are sounds of the summer that I really love, like the tinkling of ice in a cocktail glass, or the plinky tune of the ice cream truck through the screened window- and the money sound of cockle shells in a bowl.
It was the sound of this dish that had me standing eagerly at the fishmongers counter. Crazy eh? but why not? I love making this dish. It takes no time at all and the result is so satisfying. For those that are carb phobic I use Barilla’s Plus pasta. It’s a dried pasta with extra protein. I highly recommend it. The tooth on the pasta is closer to typical pasta and not the mealy bite of whole wheat varieties. If you don’t have it in your local market you can order it here. For those who need to keep their glycemic index low this is a way to have your pasta and maintain your balance.
But I digress…smokey bacon widens the depth of these flavors. Into the base broth, along with a hearty splash of Sauvignon Blanc, I slipped in two bay leaves from the plant my Mother gave me earlier this season. She has a bay plant that resembles Jack’s beanstalk in her living room. I was in such awe of it that Mom got me one of my own. My baby is working it’s way up, already gaining about 3 inches since I set it into my “garden window” and is now about 8″ tall. Fresh bay leaves are a real treat. Go get a bay plant for yourself and get one for a friend, you’ll both be all smiles.

I have the immense pleasure of a sweeping view of the Hudson River facing the setting sun. With the setting sun mellowing the colors of the day I sit in my window watching boats ease their way up and down the river. It may not be the dock on the bay that I really crave, but for city life I feel blessed to live in. More of the Sauvignon Blanc, famous for its vegetal and sprightly flavor, accompanied my meal. Nothing beats this combination- and with it came another wonderful summer sound- the slurp of sucking the cockles from their beautiful shells and the clink of the discarded shells falling into the bowl.

Smokey Cockles with Spaghetti
serves two
1.5# fresh cockles, scrubbed clean- discarding any that remain open
4 strips of smoked bacon
2 cloves crushed garlic
.5 c dry white wine
2 bay leaves
{optional pinch of red pepper}
2oz dried pasta- cooked al dente and tossed with 1T olive oil
In a large pot over medium heat gently sautee bacon, rendering the fat. 
Add in garlic and bay leaves and sautee until garlic have given up it’s fragrance.
Carefully add in the wine and gently simmer to meld the flavors and draw out the bay.
Toss in the scrubbed cockles and cover the pot with a lid.
Let the cockles steam for about 5 mins. They are done when the shells are completely open.
Do not add salt until after you’ve tasted the broth. The cockles give up their briny juice and usually that is more than enough salt.
Divide the pasta between two bowls and then the cockles, strain the broth to remove and grit and then pour over the two bowls.
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