Resembling something like an Italian paella, fresh mussels are dotted around the pot with pasta, white wine and capers, served alongside crusty bread.
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled, bashed with the back of a knife
- 3 spring onions, roughly chopped, plus extra, to serve
- ½ red birds eye chilli, thinly sliced
- 200 ml dry white wine
- 350-400 g orecchiette
- 1.5 kg fresh mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
- 8 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small handful baby capers in salt, well washed
- crusty bread, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Put the kettle on as you will need to add boiling water to your pot when adding the pasta.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic, spring onion and chilli and stir for a few minutes or until the garlic starts to become golden and fragrant. Add the wine and cook for about 2 minutes or until the alcohol has evaporated, then add the pasta, mussels, tomatoes and capers. Pour over enough boiling water to just submerge the pasta. Start stirring gently- the sauce will thicken ever so slightly as the orecchiette soak up all the juices. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Remember that the residual heat will continue cooking the pasta when you turn off the heat, so it’s always a good idea to keep it very al dente.
3. Turn off the heat, then scatter over the extra spring onion and eat straight away with plenty of crusty bread for mopping up the juices.
Silvia Colloca shares her Italian family secrets in the brand-new second-season of Cook like an Italian.