Pasta, Potatoes & Mussels
Rustic Italian meal of Naples of pasta, potatoes, mussels and a dash of tomato. This dish brought me back to the beautiful sea and coast of the Mediterranean.
10 mins of preparation,
30-40 mins of cooking.
This recipe was prepared for a dinner of 2 persons.
- extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 peeled tomatoes (from a can of peeled tomatoes / pelati)
- 2 potatoes, peeled and sliced into thick chunks
- 3 bags of 454g frozen mussels whole, unthawed
- 2 small slices of pecorino cheese
- 150g of gomiti pasta (or any other rustic “bronze-drawn” pasta can be used)
- additional pecorino cheese
- a handful of basil leaves
- ground black pepper
I. Steam the mussels
- Add olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic and frozen mussels into a pot. Heat on low flame with the pot covered, for 20 minutes or until the frozen water has melted and become warm.
The frozen mussels must be “fresh out of the freezer” when you do this.
II. Prepare the sauce
- While the mussels are steaming, in a separate pot, heat olive oil and 2 cloves of garlic until golden.
- Add peeled tomatoes. Crush with the spatula and stir to cook for 2 minutes.
- Add potatoes and allow to cook for 2 minutes, to absorb the oil.
- Add hot water to cover the potatoes.
- Add 2 thick slices of pecorino. Cover the pot and allow to simmer on low flame for 10-15 minutes.
III. Strain and clean the mussels
- While the sauce is simmering, check that the mussels are steamed. Strain the water into a bowl to get rid of impurities. This water of the mussels will be used for the sauce.
- Remove the shells of the mussels.
IV. Complete the dish
- After the potatoes have cooked and become soft, add the strained water of the mussels into the sauce pot.
- Add pasta into the sauce pot. If needed, add more water.
- Bring the pot to a boil on medium-high flame, stirring until the pasta is almost cooked. For this recipe, cook the pasta 2 minutes before it is al dente, as it will continue to cook in the sauce as it rests.
- Switch off the flame, add the mussels, and cover the pot. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add grated pecorino to taste and a bit of olive oil. Stir well.
- Add basil and ground black pepper to taste.
Where we bought our ingredients in Singapore:
- Frozen mussels (Pier 33 Gourmet Fully Cooked Mussels All Natural, 454g per packet) – Foodies Market or Fairprice
- Peeled tomatoes / pelati (La Corvinia, 400g) – Foodies Market
“Bronze-Drawn” or trafilata al bronzo refers to the way the pasta is processed, which produces a rough texture which releases more starch when it cooks and absorbs more of the sauce it is mixed with.
A can usually contains 4-5 tomatoes, so you will not be using the whole can. Store the rest in the fridge.
Alternatively, Fresh Mussels
If using fresh mussels, cook for only 2-3 minutes (with the pot covered) until the shells open up. Shells that do not open up are dead and should be discarded.
As basil leaves in Singapore are relatively expensive and irregular in supply at the supermarkets, we have been growing our own for the past 3 years. We grew them from seeds, in sand, with 2-weekly goat manure (from Tiong Bahru Market), and semi-shaded along our corridor.