Mussels in Tomato, Chilli and Basil Sauce

31 05 2010

I ended up cooking mussels two ways the other night because, gripped by indecision, I could not choose between a Jamie-inspired Mediterranean version in a tomato-based sauce, or Nigella’s more rustic French recipe with white wine. They both equally deserved their moment in the spotlight, so I was left with little choice but to indulge their little nagging voices. In case you’re wondering, Rob took having two different meals for dinner perfectly in his stride.

Serves 2 | Preparation time 5 minutes | Cooking time 10 minutes
Rob’s rating 7.5/10

1/3 packet pasta
250g Mussels (preferably de-bearded)
2 Tbsp butter
 or olive oil
Half tsp dried chilli seeds or 1 fresh chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small onion/shallot, chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp basil pesto and handful fresh basil leaves
S+P to taste


1. In a large pot on high, cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

2. Rinse the mussels under cool water in a colander and set aside.

3. In a medium-sized pot or pan, heat the butter and fry the chilli, garlic and onion until golden. Add the tomatoes and basil pesto as well as a generous pinch of salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes, stir as needed.

4. Add the lemon juice and mussels to the pan and cover with a lid on for 1 minute.

5. Your pasta should be done by now, drain drizzle with olive oil and add to the mussels and sauce in the pan. Mix everything together gently so the pasta is coated in the sauce, then serve into two warmed bowls. Tear over a few roughly chopped basil leaves.

*Delicious with a slice of crusty bread if you are feeding a crowd.

Round Two was French-Bistro Style Mussels in a Creamy White Wine Sauce…



5 responses

1 06 2010
Barbs Taylor

So which one is Jamie’s?? Both look yummy. Look forward to your blogs!! xx

1 06 2010

Jamie’s is the Italian tomato-based version and Nigella’s is the traditional French one 🙂 You can even find frozen mussels in Zim so give it a bash!

1 06 2010

Sounds good, not too sure about the frozen mussels though, perhaps try Island seafoods or CTFM as I’m sure the fresh west coast mussels would taste damn good in here, tough choice between jamie and nigella, I feel that if both were on tv at the same time and since I don’t own nor want to own a pvr, I would go with whom was cooking what I liked best 😉

1 06 2010

Hey! you are so right – coming from a land-locked country I have very little experience with sea food, especially fresh mussels, but I totally agree that living in Cape Town means no excuse for using frozen mussels! I will definitely try that next time, thanks for the tip! 🙂

6 06 2010
Emma Leared

Hi Sarah, your blog is fantastic!!!! I came across it somehow on fb- did your ‘why-he-married-me bacon pasta’- scrumptious! And the tomato mussels we did last night- SOOOO good!!! Well done and thanks for spicing up my boring cooking!!! Al is delighted!!!! See you soon. XXXXXX

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