If you can’t be with the one you love honey, love the one you’re with. Sorry, but that’s exactly what I was singing to myself as I scrubbed the mussels for this recipe. I was secretly wishing that I could eat these mussels with a mountain of crispy french fries and a fresh baguette on the side for dipping, with a chilled Chablis, rather than over pasta. Of course I like linguine with mussels, otherwise I wouldn’t bother with the recipe, but the truth is that I love a good moules frites on a nice summer afternoon. Ah, then again, who has the time or the inclination to make homemade french fries? Some things are better left for someone else to cook. So did I settle? Yep. And was it delicious? Yep. In sum: You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need. And boy did I need a second bowl of linguine con le cozze after I devoured the first one.
Check out our wine pairings that complement this dish.
Remove any mussels that are broken or which do not close immediately if tapped. Scrub the mussels well with a wire sponge or brush. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
In a large skillet, add a few tablespoons of olive oil and sauté half of the garlic until golden. Add the mussels and cover. Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the shells open (discarding any mussels with a shell that does not open). Remove the mussels from the skillet with a slotted spoon and then remove all but 12 mussels from their shells. Place all shelled mussels back into the skillet with the remaining liquid. In a separate skillet, sauté the remaining garlic in about ½ cup of olive oil. (Add the minced chili pepper if desired). When golden, add the wine and tomatoes and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Add this mixture to the large skillet containing the mussels and heat together. Add back the mussels remaining in their shells.
Meanwhile, prepare the linguine until al dente (2 minutes less than package recommends). Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the mussels. Mix together over medium heat for about 1 minute. Serve immediately, evenly distributing the mussels.