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Mussels Penne Arrabbiata


Arrabbiata means angry—a moniker attributed to the classic tomato sauce spiked with hot peppers—but this vibrant pasta dish will bring nothing but delight to your table. The sweet seafood flavour of the mussels contrasts the fiery tang of the sauce and the pasta soaks it all up. You may need to serve some crusty bread, too, to make sure you can sop up every last drop from the bowl. The San Marzano tomatoes are worth seeking out for their rich fl avour, which is especially important in this simple sauce. You can use Littleneck clams instead of the mussels, if you prefer, or use a combination of both.

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  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
  • 2 oz (60 g) thinly sliced pancetta, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 hot red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (796 mL) San Marzano tomatoes
  • 12 oz (375 g) penne rigate
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lbs (1 kg) mussels, scrubbed
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley and/or basil


Servings 4


Step 1

1 Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add pancetta and sauté for about 3 minutes or until crisp; use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate, leaving oil in pot. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and hot pepper and sauté for 1 minute.

2 Add tomatoes and bring to a boil, breaking up tomatoes and scraping brown bits from pot. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until thick.

3 Meanwhile, cook penne in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 11 minutes or until al dente. Drain well.

4 Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper, keeping in mind mussels and pancetta will add salt. Stir mussels and half of the pancetta into sauce. Cover and boil gently for about 5 minutes or until mussels open (discard any that do not open).

5 Divide penne among warmed serving bowls. Ladle sauce and mussels overtop. Sprinkle with remaining pancetta and parsley and/or basil.

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