This recipe bumps up the flavour of the seafood by cooking the mussels with the partially cooked pasta. You'll want to lick the plate when you're done. There's no fancy name but if you think of one, let me know.
Spaghetti and Mussels
4 lb (2 kg) ripe tomatoes, diced
½ teaspoon coarse or sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs (1 kg) mussels
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb (500g) spaghetti
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
Warm the garlic in the olive oil in a large pot until it is fragrant. Add diced tomatoes and ½ teaspoon coarse salt. Cook on low heat, uncovered, for about an hour. Stir occasionally. If you trust your pan and stove top - this is your time to kick back. A little more time, a little less time won't matter. Just check the consistency and the taste.
After an hour….clean your mussels...
Don’t soak the mussels in water! You want the wonderful briny seafood taste to seep into your dish, not the sink. Scrub mussels and pull off the beards. Once you've pulled off the beard of the mussel you have killed it - so don't murder them until the last minute. Swish them around in fresh water and discard the dirty sandy water. Swishing helps rinse off the grit. Once you have done this a few times the water should be clear.
Discard any mussels with broken shells or that do not close when they are handled or tapped sharply. Now, they are ready to be put into your simmering sauce along with the undercooked spaghetti.
Under cook the spaghetti in salted water by about 5 minutes less than the package directions. It should be hard in the middle. Add the half cooked spaghetti to the simmering sauce, stir, and then add the cleaned mussels. The spaghetti must sit in the sauce to cook whereas the mussels can be steamed by sitting on top. Cover the pot and cook just until the shells open, about 3-6 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Toss fresh basil into pot and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with fresh parmesan or a salty pecorino, yum.
Serves 6-8 depending on your appetite and generosity in providing other food.