Mussels Fra Diavolo with Linguine

Cooking for One or Two, Recipes, Worknight Dinners
linguine fra diavolo
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linguine fra diavolo

Photo: Leigh Loftus

It wasn’t until I moved from New York City to Chicago that I tasted mussels for the first time. I credit friends who had, at the time, more adventurous palates than my own along with a resolve to try just about anything once. I had mussels several times and I liked them just fine. When I discovered mussels Fra Diavolo, though, it was game over. Because mussels are served up in shells, often with a dramatic presentation, they appear to be something that would be difficult to recreate in your home kitchen. Not so much. All you need is a pan that has a lid and about, oh, eight minutes.

Mussels taste of little more than the sweet, briny ocean. Because mussels are basically a blank canvas, it’s a easy to dress them up however you see fit.

In this preparation, Fra Diavolo means “brother devil” in Italian, which refers to a spicy, tomato-based sauce. Though I love making homemade marinara sauce, this recipes looks to store bought sauce for convenience, but we jazz things up with fresh fennel, crushed red pepper, and garlic.

linguine fra diavolo

linguine fra diavolo

Mussels Fra Diavolo with Linguine
Recipe type: Cooking for One or Two, Worknight Dinners
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 4 ounces uncooked linguine
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped fennel bulb
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup lower-sodium marinara sauce
  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded (about 40)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving ¾ cup pasta water.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add fennel and onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic, pepper, and salt; sauté 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add reserved pasta water and marinara to pan; cook 1 minute.
  3. Add mussels; cover and cook 3 minutes or until shells open. Discard any unopened shells.
  4. Place 1 cup pasta in each of 4 shallow bowls. Top each serving with about 1½ cups mussels mixture. Sprinkle evenly with parsley.

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