Gluten-Free Mussels Fra Diavolo Recipe
I love mussels. They are an inexpensive form of protein, they cook up quickly, have this lovely subtle sweet, sea taste to them, and because they look like restaurant food but are dead simple to make.
When I lived in Northern California we used to go to the beach at low tide and harvest mussels. We would throw them in an ice chest, take them home and cook them up with some wine and herbs. Or sometimes, just cook them up right on the beach.
When I lived in Southern California, one of my regular restaurants in West Hollywood made Moules Frites – a classic mussel and French fry dish, my favorite dish on the menu.
This recipe is Mussels Fra Diavolo. Fra Diavolo literally means “Brother Devil”. It sounds Italian but it is actually American in origin. Fra Diavolo is similar to Arrabbiata Sauce, a spicy Italian tomato sauce, but basically created to be served with American lobster. As “Brother Devil” implies, it is spicy. And while it is perfect served with sweet lobster, mussels make for a much more affordable alternative.
I love this dish. Not just because it is spicy and delicious but because it is simple to prepare and looks fancy.
The sauce takes a little time. You can get away with simmering for 30 minutes but 60 is better. However, the sauce can be made days ahead, re-heated and the mussels thrown in last minute and in no time, you have a dinner party worthy dish. For the sauce, I used Pastene tomatoes.
Make sure to serve with lots of crusty gluten free garlic bread for sopping up that amazing sauce.
Buon appetito! Or as we say here in America, enjoy your meal!
Mussels Fra Diavolo
- 2 tablespoons Pastene Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 medium white or yellow onion , diced
- ½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Pastene minced garlic
- 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons Pastene tomato paste
- 1 (28 ounce) can Pastene Ground Peeled Tomatoes
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 pounds mussels , cleaned and de-bearded
- ¼ cup Italian parsley , roughly chopped
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, salt, and pepper, and cook until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for another minute.
- Add the ground peeled tomatoes and then fill the can halfway up with water and add that along with the wine and sugar. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. (The sauce can be made ahead to this point, store covered in the refrigerator for up to several days.)
- Add the mussels and cook, covered for 4-5 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that do not open.
- Using a slotted spoon, divide the mussels between 4 soup bowls then ladle in the sauce. Garnish with the parsley and serve.
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