Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spaghetti Marinara with Mussels

I was ready for a beautiful simple spaghetti with tomato sauce dish for a while. This was a dish I would cook even when I knew I could not really cook. “Could not really cook” meant I knew how to prepare a dish but the final product would not knock my socks off because it tasted so good. It tasted ‘ok’, it was eatable, but I really wanted to swoon over the food I eat because it tastes so good. Still today cooking something as simple as marinara sauce is my hallmark if someone can cook. When I buy a cookbook, I always check out the marinara sauce recipe….. Still today I do not have a predictable outcome, but I am getting better at it. (BTW, Giada’s jarred sauces at Target are divine, for a jarred sauce).

Spaghetti marinara with mussels (2 servings):

  • 4 oz spaghetti, cooked to instructions, al dente
  • 1 white sweet onion, finely (!) chopped
  • 1 garlic glove, minced
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • splash of red or white wine
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 small can chopped, no sodium added organic tomatoes (I used the Trader Joes brand)
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 hot cherry pepper, finely diced
  • a few mussels (I used frozen, they are easier to portion)
  • fresh basil, chiffonade
  • handful baby spinach
  • 2 TB daiya mozzarella vegan cheese

In a skillet, heat the olive oil and add anchovy filets, and heat them until they melt into the oil. Add the finely chopped onion, and saute on medium-low until they are browned and caramelized. At this point add the garlic and saute only for 1-2min because it burns fast. Add the wine, mix it in and let it cook down until no liquid is left in the pan. Take the pan off the heat, and mix in the canned and fresh tomatoes. Pour the entire mixture in a food processor (I use a vitamix for an extra smooth, silky consistency), and puree until smooth. (Note: I do it at this point because the tomatoes cool down the mixture and I can actually process it in the food processor without risk of steam exploding out of it). Once pureed, the mixture goes back into the pan and is heated back up on medium-high heat. I add the basil and the mussels. Once the mussels are heated and cooked (and open), I removed the shells and leave the mussels in the sauce. Last I add some baby spinach and vegan daiya cheese to make the sauce extra creamy. Mix in the drained spaghetti, cook for about 1 min, and serve.


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