Today’s recipe is yet another classic of Italian cuisine. It is originally from the South, where fresh mussels are very common, but it is one of those dishes that is now widely eaten throughout the country. It is a very simple recipe, which doesn’t require many ingredients and, like all simple recipes, needs to be made with high quality ingredients to get the best results. Some people cook the mussels together with the sauce from the beginning, but I like to open them separately to get rid of any residual sand inside the shells. I have already shared this little secret with you in my post on Spaghetti with Vongole a little while ago. This is one of my father’s favourite dishes… so here you have it: Spaghetti with Mussels. Enjoy!
- Put the cleaned mussels in salty water for at least 2 hours, so that they get rid of the sand inside.
- Sauté the garlic cloves in a frying pan with the extra virgin olive oil for about a minute, or until just golden.
- Add the diced tomatoes and cook them on a medium flame for 5 to 10 minutes. Keep the sauce aside.
- Put the mussels in a pot, cover with a lid and put on a high flame to open up.
- When open, remove them from the liquid and filter the liquid through a sieve (you will need this for your sauce, so do not discard it!).
- You can either keep the mussels in their shells or remove them from the shells. I usually remove half of them and keep the rest for decoration.
- Add the mussels and the filtered liquid to the warm tomato sauce. Cook on a high flame for 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped parsley, mix, season with salt and pepper to taste and put the fire off.
- Cook the pasta following the steps on How to cook pasta al dente in the Techniques page of this site, but drain it 1 minute before it is cooked as it will finish cooking together with the sauce. Put the drained pasta in the frying pan with the sauce and mix it well while cooking it on a slow flame for 1 or 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately with more freshly ground pepper!