Poor man’s vongole rosso

A brilliantly healthy pasta dish that's low calorie and rich in iron too, using budget-friendly cockles instead of clams

  • Prep:10 mins
    Cook:25 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 448
  • fat 12g
  • saturates 2g
  • carbs 59g
  • sugars 7g
  • fibre 4g
  • protein 19g
  • salt 0.7g


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 400g can cherry tomatoes
  • glass of white wine
  • small pinch of golden caster sugar
  • 750g cockles, rinsed
  • 400g linguine
  • 1 tbsp good-quality extra virgin olive oil


Fresh mussels, clams and cockles...

...will keep, chilled, in a bowl covered with a  damp cloth for a few days. Before cooking, wash them in several changes of cold water and make sure all the shells are tightly closed, discarding any that are open or damaged.


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan with a lid. Add the garlic and sizzle for 1 min, then tip in the tomatoes. Use the white wine to swirl round and rinse out the tomato can, then tip it into the pan, sprinkle over the sugar and turn up the heat. Simmer until everything becomes thick, making sure you stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan – this will take 15-20 mins.

  2. Once the tomatoes have had about 10 mins, cook the pasta in a big pan of salted water until just cooked – this will take about 10 mins – then drain. When the tomatoes and wine have reduced to a thick sauce, throw the cockles into the pan, stir once, cover with a lid and turn the heat up to max. Cook for 3-4 mins until all the cockles have opened, then stir again. Turn off the heat and stir through the pasta with the extra virgin olive oil until everything is coated. Try a strand of pasta and season with salt to taste. Bring the pan to the table with a separate bowl for the shells, and serve straight from the pan.

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