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Trofie Pasta with Cockles, Chiles and Black Bean Sauce

Ken Vedrinski discovered the hand-coiled pasta called trofie and the super-minerally white-wine Vermentino while traveling in Liguria.


slideshow  More Great Pastas


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • 12 thin asparagus spears, trimmed

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced

  • One 750-milliliter bottle dry white wine

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 3 tablespoons Chinese black bean–garlic sauce

  • 1 fresh red chile, seeded and minced

  • 1 pound artisanal trofie or fusilli

  • 4 dozen cockles, scrubbed

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


  1. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until just tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to a work surface, let cool and cut into 1-inch lengths. Reserve the water for the pasta.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter. Add the garlic and shallots and cook over moderately low heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the wine and bay leaves and boil over high heat until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaves, stir in the black bean–garlic sauce and chile, cover and remove from the heat.
  3. Return the water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente; drain and return to the pot.
  4. Bring the black bean sauce to a boil. Add the cockles, cover and cook over high heat until they open, 2 minutes. Stir in the asparagus. Add the pasta and toss. Season with salt and pepper, add the parsley and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Vermentino, a white Italian grape, grows all over the seaside region of Liguria. Its natural minerality is good with shellfish dishes.

Contributed By Photo © Tina Rupp Published October 2010

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