Tomato and Chile Linguine with Mussels

These chiles will add a deep, nutty flavor to dishes and are great to use in salsas and sauces. It is a medium-hot chile that is good in soups, stews, sauces and sausage.

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For the sauce:
2 cans of good quality plum tomatoes
2 small onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup white wine
2 bay leaves
1 whole deseeded dried chile
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lb dried linguine pasta
1 lb fresh mussels
1/4 cup 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 increase the heat a little so it begins to simmer. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the pan along with the chile 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 chile sauce along with 1/4 cup 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 flavor. 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 center of the table for discarded shells!

Serves 8 as appetizer or 4 as main course.