Fast, fresh and simple, this mussels and pasta can be on the dinner table in 20 minutes. The sauce is infused with basil twice – in the beginning, it is fried with the cracked pepper and at the end, it is added fresh with the mussels. It benefits from the Indian culinary trick of frying fresh and dried herbs and spices, which adds depth and an extra layer of intensity.
- 910 gm mussels, debearded and scrubbed
- 450 gm conchiglie pasta shells or other pasta shapes
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked peppercorns
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 3 cups boxed or canned chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup basil leaves, 1/3 roughly chopped
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, cook until al dente, drain and set aside.
- While the pasta boils, cook the mussels. Heat the olive oil, chopped basil, red pepper flakes and cracked pepper in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant.
- Add the mussels, cook for 30 seconds and then cover the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until all the mussels open.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the mussels from the skillet and set aside.
- Stir the tomatoes and salt into the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 4 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Add mussels and any accumulated juices back to the skillet along with the cooked pasta and whole basil leaves, using tongs to toss together.
- Cover the skillet, cook for a minute to combine the flavours and serve.