Well Seasoned – Tomato & chilli linguine with mussels

Here’s the first Well Seasoned recipe for the new year, healthy on the wallet as well as the waist line – yet still impressive enough for friends and chalet guests alike!

Recipes by Gemma Taylor, chef and tutor on the Well Seasoned chalet cookery course

Tomato & chilli linguine with mussels

Serves 8 as a starter or 4 as a main

There are three parts to this recipe but it needn’t be complicated. The tomato sauce can be cooked in advance and the mussels prepared, meaning all you need to do before serving is cook the pasta and cook the mussels at the very last minute!

For the tomato & chilli sauce:

2 tins of good quality plum tomatoes
2 small onions

2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

100ml of white wine
2 bay leaves

1 whole deseeded dried chilli
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

400g dried linguine pasta

1 kg fresh mussels

100ml of white wine

Chopped fresh parsley to garnish

To prepare the tomato sauce firstly peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. In a large pan heat the olive oil and butter on a medium low heat, add the onion and garlic and sauté gently for 10 minutes until they start to soften. Add the white wine and season well and increase the heat a little so it begins to simmer. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the pan along with the chilli and bay leaves and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens and reduces by about half, the longer the sauce cooks the better so cook it for at least an hour. Once cooked remove the bay leaves and chilli and set aside, the sauce could even be made the day before and kept in the fridge once cooled.

To prepare the mussels rinse them in plenty of cold running water and discard any which have cracked or open shells. Using a small knife or your hands remove any of the hairy beards which stick out of the shells. If you are preparing the mussels in advance make sure you return them to the fridge until ready to cook.

The mussels only take a few minutes to cook so before starting them ensure your tomato sauce is heated up and the correct consistency and cook your linguine according to the packet instructions, usually about 7-8 minutes in boiling water. Once the pasta is cooked drain and return to the pan along with a little olive oil to stop it sticking together and cover to keep warm.

To cook the mussels you will need a large saucepan with a lid. In the bottom of the saucepan place two generous tablespoons of the tomato and chilli sauce along with 100ml of white wine. Bring this mixture the boil, add the mussels and mix well then cover the pan. Mussels contain lots of their own juices so with just a little liquid they will steam themselves, the tomato sauce and wine just add a little extra flavour. Cook for 4-5 minutes until all the mussel shells are wide open which signifies they are cooked.

To serve place the linguine and tomato sauce on each plate and top with a generous serving of mussels. Sprinkle liberally with chopped parsley – and don’t forget a large dish in the centre of the table for discarded shells!


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