By Nancy Caivano
1 lb. pasta (I prefer spaghetti with this
but any pasta will work well)
4 tbsp. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped (or 2 tsp. jar chopped garlic)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (add more or less
depending on how hot you want it)
3 hot Italian cherry peppers, chopped
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 cans tomato purée
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chiffonade basil
6 lbs. mussels, soaked and scrubbed, beards removed
2 cups white wine
1 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente; drain.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion. Sauté until just beginning to brown. Add red pepper flakes and cherry peppers. Sauté for 10 minutes more. Add tomatoes, purée and wine. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add herbs. Simmer 20 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place mussels in a large pot over high heat. Add white wine and enough water to go halfway up mussels. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until all mussels are open, about 15 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. You can serve this dish with the mussels in the shell or without the shells. If you don't want to use the shells, remove mussels from shells now and transfer to a large bowl and keep warm. If you want to use the shells, drain liquid and leave mussels in the pot.
Combine drained pasta with mussels. Toss with sauce and grated cheese and serve.
If you can't find cherry peppers, you can substitute jalapeños for a different taste.
This page created December 1998
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