Apr 03 2011

Devil May Care

Published by Christine at 4:58 am under Pasta,Seafood

Last week’s lobster ravioli is not a dish for the impatient. It requires a little planning, and more than a little time. While it’s the sort of meal that I enjoy making (and eating) every now and again, it is definitely not one which finds its way on the table too often, because I have a job and other things I need to get done, and I also occasionally need sleep. So on a regular weeknight, I like meals that do not involve a list of ingredients to rival War and Peace, and a prep time I can easily manage (anything under 45 minutes has my vote).

In that respect, as in many others, mussels are winners. It takes longer to clean them than it does to cook them (and cleaning them is not hard), and they taste best when prepared with a minimal amount of ingredients. I love them steamed in a mixture of shallots, parsley, butter and white wine. 5 minutes and voilà: bivalves deluxe.

My offering for today involves some tomato sauce and heat in the form of crushed red pepper flakes. That’s the Lucifer in the “fra diavolo.” Some weeks ago, I gave a recipe for tomato sauce here, which I use as a basis for this dish. It requires only 3 ingredients; you can literally get in on the stove in 30 seconds, and it will need about 40 minutes to cook, but luckily, it does that all by itself like a big girl. You can make it ahead of time and keep it in the freezer. If that’s too much time or planning for you to manage, you can use whatever basic marinara you like best. Whatever makes your life easy, I promise I won’t call the tomato police. Remember, the name of the game for today is devilishly quick, simple, and delicious.


Mussels Fra Diavolo


2 lbs fresh mussels
1 Tbsp each butter and olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 medium shallot
1 tsp (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
sea salt to taste
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 cup white white or dry vermouth
3 cups tomato sauce
1 lb spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine


Clean mussels and discard those with a broken shell. Soak them in cold water while you prepare the sauce.

Bring water for pasta to a boil.

Chop shallot and garlic finely. In a large sauté pan, gently sauté shallot in butter and oil over medium-low heat, until the shallot begins to turn a light golden brown. Note: adding olive oil to the butter allows the butter to tolerate higher temperatures without burning. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Add white wine, tomato sauce, salt, and pepper flakes. Bring to a quick simmer, cover and cook together for about 10 min.

While the sauce simmers, cook pasta according to package directions.

Add cleaned and drained mussels to the tomato sauce, cover and steam over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or so. The mussels will be done when they are open; do not overcook, or they would turn rubbery. Discard any mussel that has not opened at this time.

Pour mussels and sauce in a large bowl over pasta and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 hungry people.


Hell yes!


2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Devil May Care”

  1. Deb Amlenon 03 Apr 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Hellz yes! I may require this dish next weekend! :D

  2. Christineon 03 Apr 2011 at 8:07 pm

    There will be many things to nosh on, don’t you worry ’bout that, Ma’am!

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