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Spicy Mussels with Pancetta and Fresh Tomatoes

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Every week, Caroline Wright creates simple, civilized recipes for Food52 that feed four -- for under $20, in under 20 minutes.

Today: A dinner that encapsulates the best parts of the seashore (and leaves the sand behind). 

Mussels star in many of my summer memories. I'd often eat them after a day at the beach, when a shower to wash off the day's grit was necessary before diving hands-first into dinner. These mussels capture those memories, but leave out the sand. The broth is spicy, rich, and studded with fresh tomatoes, and it runs as easily down one's arm as it soaks into crusty bread. Give a glass of wine to the mussels, and keep the rest for the table.

Spicy Mussels with Pancetta and Fresh Tomatoes

Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 ounces thick-sliced pancetta, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup red wine
2 pounds fresh mussels
4 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped (about 2 cups)
Crusty bread for serving

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

As a freelance food writer and cook, I first wrote this style of recipe as a column on my blog, The Wright Recipes, as an excuse to cook good food for my friends in a quick and simple way. 

Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute™ Meals grew into a cookbook that was published by Workman in May 2013. The recipes found here are original, made especially for Food52 to once again celebrate simple food with friends.

Photo by Caroline Wright

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Tags: Dinner, Summer, Weeknight Cooking, Quick and Easy, On the Cheap, Dinner, Faster