Monday, July 11, 2011

Mussels alla Diavola

That's right, I'm finally back from vacation. I just know you were pining away for me (or more accurately, a new recipe). Well here is a favorite of mine. The sauce is so bold. It's super garlicky and spicy. In fact, it makes my lips tingle just a little (in a good way). Mmmpf. 

I made these for my friends one night after spending the day on the beach/boardwalk. It was the perfect vacation seafood meal after all that fun in the sun. They were saying things like "five-stars" and "this is better than the mussels I had in a restaurant last week". Grade A compliments from grade A friends (can't beat that).

Yield:  3 main courses (or 6 appetizers)

12 garlic cloves, minced (about 1/3 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 (28-oz) can whole (or diced) tomatoes in purée
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/4 cup drained bottled capers (1 1/4 oz)
1/2 cup kalamata or other brine-cured black olives (3 oz), pitted and chopped
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 lb. dried linguine (or crusty baguette to serve as appetizer)
3 lb. mussels (preferably cultivated), cleaned (see note below)

1.        Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with purée, tomato paste, herbs, capers, olives, and wine and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes, until sauce is thick, about 15 minutes.  (Can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.)

2.        Cook linguine until al dente, then drain in a colander (or cut baguette into slices for dipping).

3.        Increase heat under sauce to moderately high and add mussels, then cook, covered, until mussels just open wide, checking frequently after 3 minutes and transferring to a bowl. (Discard any mussels that remain unopened after 6 minutes.)

To clean mussels:
Soak for 20 minutes in cold water (remove mussels to a colander without disturbing sand on bottom).  Rinse & scrub well with a brush under cold water, scraping off any barnacles with a knife.  If beard is still attached, remove it by pulling it from tip to hinge or by pulling and cutting it off with knife. If any of the raw mussels are already open a little, tap them with a knife, if they close on their own, they're still alive. If not, discard.

barely adapted from Gourmet, July 2003

garlic cloves (I doubled the recipe--there was so
much garlic that I broke out the mini processor)
chopped garlic
garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil
kalamata olives
all the sauce ingredients added
diavola sauce

This sauce is unbelievably delectable.
Even if you don't like mussels, try it.
mussels (already soaked and ready to scrub)
scrubbed and ready to steam

A special shout out to my friend Maura, who 

did all the mussel scrubbing for me. And I
can't forget Lisa (she did all the dishes).
hot diavola sauce
mussels steamy and ready to eat
linguine cooked al dente
mussels over linguine
sauce spooned over mussels

Looking back, it would have been smarter to just
mix the mussels and sauce up more before putting
them over the pasta. But this worked too.

Even easier still would be to serve plated
individually, instead of in one large bowl.
Surf's-Up Barbie (and two of the six-year-olds
I was alluding to in my Cherpumple post)


Judie Cleland said...

I am not a fan of mussels but I did miss you last week. Glad you are back!

Susan said...

Aww, thanks! (Try the diavola sauce without the's great!)

Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) said...

Without the mussels this looks a lot like a puttanesca sauce, am I right?

Susan said...

You are right...they're very similar. The diavola is minus the anchovies and has red wine (plus there is way more garlic). It's just a little bolder.

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