I raided my fridge this evening and had an impromptu dinner for three. Although not strictly a review on good eats in
In my fridge & kitchen cupboard I found:
1 bulb of garlic
1 large onion
4 birds eye chilis
3 sticks celery
3 ripe tomatoes
4-5 pcs sundried tomatoes
1 tin plum/chopped tomatoes
1/2 tube tomato puree (ketchup works almost as well)
A handful of fresh basil
1/2 packet of Spaghetti
I then nipped to my friendly neighbourhood Super(market) and picked up 1kg of (in-season) Scottish rope grown mussels for GBP2.99. Bargain!!!
This dish is incredibly easy (and quick) to make - although the mussels do need debearding and cleaning. To debeard, grab a hold of the scruffy 'beards' that are attached to the inside of the shells and pull hard. Then run under cold water and wash off any dirt or grit on the shells. Remember to discard any open or broken ones unless they clam up when you tap them gently on their shells. For the novice mussel 'debeard-er' & cleaner, this should take about 15 minutes but the results are well worth it.
Cleaning aside, on the hob, this dish is done and dusted in 15-20 mins.
1. First chop up the garlic, onions, chilis. Pop them into a pot on low heat with some olive oil and a knob of butter. (I also found a wee bottle of truffle oil that my brother-in-law's brother had given me a few months back so I added a generous tablespoon to the mix). Fry gently for approx 5 minutes.
2. With the garlic, onions and chilis frying merrily away in the pot, slice the celery and sundried tomatoes. Add to the pot. (Do NOT combine Step 1 and 2 as the onions need time to melt down, the garlic to sweeten and the chili to lose its acidity).
3. Then chop up the fresh tomatoes, throw them into the pot too. Give it a good stir then chuck in the tinned chopped tomatoes. Simmer for approx 5 minutes.
4. Add tomato puree or harissa paste, or even ketchup to bulk up the sauce. Salt and peper to taste.
5. When you are happy with the base, throw in the (debearded and cleaned) mussels. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook for about 5-7 minutes until the shells have opened. Discard any that remain closed.
6. Add the grated parmesan and chopped basil. Mix well.
7. In a separate pot, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. I usually add olive oil so the pasta doesnt stick and salt to season. Once cooked, drain and serve in a deep dish with the mussels.
And voila! Three happy bellies!