The Literate Chef

Mussels Marinara with Spaghetti alla Luigi

In Guest Chefs, Mussels, Pasta, Recipes, Seafood on July 28, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Ingredients for Mussels Marinara

(Preparation Time: 15 minutes, Cooking time: 15 minutes – Serves 2)


2 dozen mussels, rinsed and de-bearded if necessary
2 28 oz. cans of San Marzano tomatoes. Cut up and drained
1/2 cup cognac
1/2 lb. spaghetti
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsps. unsalted butter
I Jalapeño pepper, sliced
1 &1/2 tbsps. garlic, minced. About 4 good sized cloves.
Fresh basil chopped., about 1 cup
1 cube of Knorr Caldo con Sabor de Camarón (Shrimp Flavor Bouillon)*

* omit, if desired


1. Bring a pot of water to boil for the spaghetti.  When the water comes to a boil, add a bit of salt and cook the spaghetti until al dente, according to instructions on the package
2. In the meantime heat the oil in in a large sauté pan, add garlic and jalapeño and cook briefly until garlic is translucent, add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
3. Melt butter in a 3 qt. pot with a cover. When melted, add cognac and bring to a boil. Add the Shrimp Bouillon cube and stir well.
4. When the cube has disintegrated, add the mussels, cover and steam until all are opened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
5. When the mussels are all open, transfer them and all of the liquid to the pan with the marinara, lower the heat and continue cooking until the spaghetti is ready.
6. Drain spaghetti, add it to the mussels in marinara, add basil stir mix well serve.

Mussels Marinara with Spaghetti alla Luigi

Mussels Marinara with Spaghetti alla Luigi

Please see: Luigi the Barber


  1. Richard, butter is not needed, the olive oil does the trick!

    • Thank you Peter! I know that you are heart healthy, and I would not have thought of butter, but Louie used it. Upon reflection, I think it adds a little balance to the mussels and smoothes out the harshness of the cognac. 🙂 Ciao!

  2. Very good pasta recipe. The mussels on this Atlantic coast of France are famous ( even Elizabeth David singled out the mussels from l’Anse d’Aiguillon in her books during the 50’s and 60’s) and I think they’d be very good in this dish of yours.

    • Mussels are delicious, versatile and relatively inexpensive. And with most of them being farmed these days, they are easy to clean. This batch of 2 dozen, for the most part, merely required a quick rinse, as only two of them were hirsute. I hope that you enjoy your local ones in this recipe.

  3. Beautiful, I bet it was fantastic.

  4. Hi Richard,

    This sounds great.  My wife does all the ‘gourmet’ cooking in our house.  I only take on simple things.  But this recipe reminds me of a dish my wife tried a few years back which I think you will love.  It’s clams with tomato sauce, but it has chorizo in it to spice it up and give it a different flavor.  I’ll send it to you when I find it.



    • Thanks Richard! It sounds great…I did make a pasta dish once with clams and chorizo and I remember it was great. I had forgotten all about it. I’d love to get her recipe when you find it. I will be happy to make it, eat it and then blog it. Best regards, cousin!

  5. I’ll smooth your cognac! Not too long ago we were in Winthrop, MA, famous for a few things, one of which is that Gerry Angiulo used to live there before he was given a nice room in Atlanta. Anyway, we went to this little hotel near the water (everything in Winthrop is near the water. It’s about a half-yard wide. There I ordered and ate a delicious Mussels Scampi, and went back to see the chef…thinking I would steal a mark of my pal the Chef.

    There Tommy stood, sans hat, sans apron, with a big smile on his face, not understanding a word I said. Through signs and wonders he finally got that I really, really liked what he’d down with mussels, garlic, linguine and stuff, and wanted to know how he did it. Mutely, but still smiling he pointed to a row of bottles on a shelf behind him: Cooking Sherry.

    I have not yet tried to duplicate the recipe. But, I will. And then I’ll let you know.

    • Please do, Peadar Ban. We sometimes drive through Winthrop (and Revere Beach) on the way to Swampscott. You’ll have to share with me the name of joint and perhaps we can rendezvous there one eve for a meal.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: