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Spaghetti alla Pirata

According to Pino Luongo, this seafood pasta, popular along the Mediterranean coast, was invented in the fishing village of Porto Santo Stefano.

Plus: More Seafood Recipes and Tips

  • Servings: 4 to 6

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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 pound cockles or Manila clams, scrubbed
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups canned tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound cleaned small squid, cut into 1/2-inch rings
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves


  1. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the mussels, cockles and wine. Cook over high heat, stirring, until some of the shells are open and the liquid has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree, tomato paste, crushed red pepper and a pinch each of salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Cook over high heat until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the squid, return the sauce to a boil and cook just until the squid is firm and opaque, about 30 seconds. Add the cream, reduce the heat to moderate and simmer for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the seafood to a platter. Boil the sauce until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain. Stir the spaghetti into the sauce and cook over moderate heat for 1 minute. Return the seafood to the pasta and toss well. Transfer the spaghetti to plates, garnish with the basil and serve.

Suggested Pairing

The richness of this tomato-y seafood pasta will underscore the creamy texture of a Chardonnay blend with good acidity.

Contributed By Photo © Luca Trovato Published June 2002

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