Pasta is a big thing in my life and there will be a separate post coming soon. I can tell you though, that, while I was working on some pictures and other things for my “pasta post” I realized that only as of today I have at least 13 different kinds of pasta at home! Sic! 13! My boyfriend told me a while ago that I was a “pasta freak” and I guess he’s right. Anywhere I go I always look for pasta that I don’t know yet, or haven’t tried yet ; and of course I buy it and I store it in my kitchen in a special place. It’s dedicated to pasta and risotto rice only (risotto recipes are on their way in case you were wondering). If you already looked at the “About this blog” page, you know that I know how to make pasta and that it was a staple at my parent’s place. I guess you really appreciate pasta when you’re a student and live on a budget and usually run out of time. This is the time when you mostly eat “the white madness”, which is simply rice- the copyright to this name belongs to my brother-in-law. And if you bored with rice you eat pasta. Linguine with mussels is one of my absolute favourite. I learnt how to make it a few years ago in Dublin, where I lived for many years. I know, sounds strange, since it’s Ireland but I spent a lot of time down there living and hanging out with Italians and that’s how I got my passion for this culture in general. This particular recipe is based on pasta that one of my Italian friends used to make. I remember any time you would ask him what would he like to eat, the answer 99% of the time was “Plate of pasta”. I remember that it used to drive me crazy. There was also a funny story about him, which only confirms the stereotypes related to different nations. Like almost everybody thinks that French men are romantic- and believe me they are not!- most of us also think that all Italians are great cooks. Thanks to that my friend could get his first job in an Italian restaurant in Dublin. He was Italian in the end, so the belief in his cooking skills, real or not, was stronger than a common sense. I hope you will enjoy this dish, and please note that after many years of making it I developed a certain routine and I can say that, even if it’s an Italian recipe, it’s influenced by me by all means.
For 3-4 people, preparation time 30 min, cooking time 35-40 min
- 1,4 kg of mussels
- 300 gr of cherry tomatoes
- 2 onions- or you can use, as I did, spring onions- 3 in this case
- 1 clove of garlic
- 250 ml of white wine
- 2-3 spoons of tomato juice- passata di pomodoro
- olive oil
- salt, black pepper
- 400 gr of pasta linguine
The first thing you need to do, is to wash the mussels. That’s right, wash, not even rinse. Check them carefully and make sure that they don’t have broken shells, and that they don’t have any sand or dirt on them.
When you clean the mussels you can start preparing the sauce. This is what you need:
As you can see I already cut cherry tomatoes in half. Then you need to dice onions and parsley. Grease the fry pan with olive oil and start frying onions and 1 clove of garlic.
After 5 minutes you can add cherry tomatoes and some white wine. Stir them for another 10-15 minutes, pouring some wine from time to time. You can also add some salt and black pepper at this stage.
After a while you will notice that tomatoes start loosing their juice like here below
As the last step add parsley and two spoons of tomato juice. Pour some wine and stir for another 10-15 minutes on a low fire.
Now you can add the mussels, mix everything together and cook it on a slow fire for a few minutes. Remember that mussels need only 5-6 minutes to open.
Once the sauce is ready you can start cooking the pasta- linguine. Never the opposite. The rule says that first you make the base and then cook the pasta and incorporate it into the sauce. Also you do not rinse pasta under the cold water- yep, I did it once and Valeria, my Sicilian friend jumped on me shouting “Nooooooo! What did you do?!” It’s simple. Cook the pasta, throw it onto the sauce. Done. However with the mussels it might be a bit tricky. Stir everything carefully and slowly. Make sure that the pasta is mixed properly with the sauce. You can serve with white wine and a nice fresh baguette.