Spaghetti With Mussels and Tomatoes

Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 4
Spaghetti With Mussels and Tomatoes
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Place the mussels in a large pan. Cover it and cook them over high heat until they open, 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan. Remove the meat from the shells and discard the shells. Strain the liquid that remains at the bottom of the pan through a cheesecloth and reduce it over high heat if necessary. You will need about 1 cup liquid.


Put the oil and garlic in a skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the tomatoes (if you are using canned tomatoes, discard the liquid first), and boil, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the mussel juice and adjust the seasoning.


Add the remaining mussel juice to rapidly boiling salted water and cook the spaghetti until tender, about 9 minutes.


Add the mussels to the tomato sauce, reduce the heat to low and heat them gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley.


Drain the pasta and turn it into a hot serving dish. Pour the sauce over it and mix well.

This recipe comes from Anna Del Conte’s sadly overlooked “Portrait of Pasta” (Paddington Press, 1976).

Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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