Dinner: Mussels alla Diavola

February 24, 2010

Mussels seem to be aplenty these days in Nashville’s grocery stores.  So we brought some home for dinner and used the Epicurious.com recipe below–an easy, 35-minute recipe.  Each bag sold only has 2 lbs. of mussels, and though the recipe calls for 3 lbs.–there were more than enough mussels for us.

  • 12 garlic cloves, minced (1/3 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in purée
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup drained bottled capers (1 1/4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives (3 oz), pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 1 lb dried linguine
  • 3 lb mussels (preferably cultivated), cleaned (see cooks’ note, below)

Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with purée, tomato paste, herbs, capers, olives, and wine and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes, until sauce is thick, about 15 minutes.

Cook linguine in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain in a colander.

While pasta cooks, increase heat under sauce to moderately high and add mussels, then cook, covered, until mussels just open wide, checking frequently after 3 minutes and transferring to a bowl. (Discard any mussels that remain unopened after 6 minutes.)

Serve linguine with mussels and sauce.

Cooks’ notes:

· Just before cooking, clean mussels by scrubbing them well with a brush under cold water and scraping off any barnacles with a knife. If beard is still attached, remove it by pulling it from tip to hinge or by pulling and cutting it off with knife.
· Tomato sauce, without mussels, can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.

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