For an easy and satisfying dinner after a busy day, steam mussels in a piquant tomato sauce then toss with pasta and fresh herbs. Finish the meal with fresh pears,
walnuts in the shell and chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Farmed mussels are a "Best Choice" because they're raised in an environmentally responsible way. Mussels don't rely on fishmeal or fish oil as part of their diet. Diseases are rare,
so antibiotics and chemicals aren't necessary and the farming operation often benefits the surrounding marine habitat.
- 4 tablespoons California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes in purée(preferably San Marzano)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound linguini pasta
- 1/4 cup drained capers
- 2 pounds mussels, rinsed and debearded
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Heat 2 tablespoons of the California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and pepper flakes and sauté until light golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the wine, thyme and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is thick and flavors blend,
stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the remaining 1/2 cup wine and capers to the sauce and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook until the mussels open, about 4 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open.
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and stir over high heat for 1 minute to blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Divide the pasta and mussels among 4 plates.
Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.
- When you get the mussels home, remove them from the plastic bag, half fill a bowl with ice and place the shells on top.
Serve them that same day. Mussels are cooked through when they open; discard any that do not open.
- To prepare mussels for cooking, scrub the shells with a stiff brush. Remove any threads extending from the shell (called beards) by grabbing with
fingers or a cloth and pulling towards the hinge end of the shell.
Recipe credit: Kristine Kidd for Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium.