Friends recommended a restaurant in Todi but it was closed. The kids were starving so we went to this Sicilian place, rarely a bad choice but not always optimal so far from the sea. It was tremendous. This is my version of a simple mussels dish they made. Two hints: 1) Tastes good if you let the garlic saute nearly to burnt but not quite. 2) How long you cook the sauce depends on the tomatoes. Fresh and nice, less. Supermarket and waxy, more. —fisheri
plum tomatoes, canned or fresh
fresh chopped parsley
big pasta like schiafone (but really linguine would do just as well)
Clean mussels well, debearding if necessary. Place in large pan or pot, covered, over medium high heat. Peer in often and remove them one by one just as they open and place them into a separate bowl. They only take a few minutes. Overcooked mussels are not good.
When cooled somewhat, deshell the mussels and drain liquid into another bowl.
Chop tomatoes, dice garlic. Shake salt off the capers.
In a saucepan over medium heat, add garlic and capers to three tablespoons olive oil. Add a few turns of red pepper flakes. Saute just to the point of burning, but carefully!
Add mussel juice and tomatoes. Saute for 10 or 15 minutes, more raw if the tomatoes are good, well done if they arent.
When sauce is nearly done, add mussels and parsley. Check for salt. Cook for a minute or two, then turn off the heat.
Boil pasta in generously salted water to al dente and drain. Add sauce over medium heat and stir for a minute or so.