This budget-friendly seafood linguine takes just 15 minutes to prepare but promises a flavour-packed and super summery dish. To keep the cost down, look for vacuum-packed mussels in white wine sauce at your local low-cost supermarket.
This might actually be my favourite dish in Do Yourself a Flavour – it’s creamy, zesty and herby all at once, and it’s super quick to make too. But don’t tell Eton Mess I said that. She’ll only get jealous.
|enough linguine for 2 (2 portions will fit in the ‘o’ shape you can make with your thumb and index finger)|
|A mug full of||cherry tomatoes|
|2–3||garlic cloves if they’re small, just 1 if it’s really fat|
|A pinch of||chilli flakes, or ½ mild red chilli|
|An actual whole bunch/packet (30g or so) of||fresh parsley|
|3 generous tbsp of||either butter or olive oil|
|zest and juice of a large lemon (roughly 2 teaspoons of zest and 30ml/2 tablespoons of juice)|
|A packet (450g) of||refrigerated vacuum-packed mussels in white wine sauce (they’re dead cheap at Lidl and Aldi)|
Start by cooking your pasta according to the packet instructions in lots of salted water in the largest pan you have. Salting the water seasons the pasta from the inside out and makes it better in every conceivable manner. I will send you ants in the post if I find out you don’t salt your pasta water.
Chop your cherry tomatoes in half, chop your garlic into very small pieces (don’t crush it, though, or make it into a paste) and finely chop the chilli (if you’re using fresh). Separate the leaves from the stems of the parsley. Keeping them separate, finely chop both.
Melt the butter or heat the oil in the largest frying pan you have over a medium heat. Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic, chilli flakes or chopped chilli, chopped parsley stalks and a little pinch of salt. Fry everything very gently for a few minutes, until just colouring. When it’s got a little bit of brown on it, add the lemon zest. Add half the lemon juice and let everything get to know each other a wee bit.
Now, tear open the mussels packet and empty them straight into the pan. Mix everything together – the mussel juices should go a pale pinkish colour from mixing with the tomatoes. Add most of the rest of the lemon juice, reserving a tiny bit for the end. Shuggle it about a bit and pop the lid on, then leave for 5 minutes until the mussels heat through.
Your pasta should be near enough done by now. To make it absolutely perfect, you want to take it out just as it’s on the verge of al dente, because when you stir it through the mussels, it’ll finish cooking and soak up some of the lovely zesty sauce. I don’t bother draining it; I just spoon it with a pair of tongs straight into the mussel pan. This has the added advantage of taking some of the starchy pasta water with it, which thickens the sauce slightly. If you’ve decided to drain using a colander, remember to add a tablespoon or so of pasta water to the sauce before you drain it down the sink.
Make sure your parsley leaves are chopped very finely, then stir them through the pasta. To serve, scatter over a wee extra bit of the parsley, which will have inevitably clung to the chopping board, give it all a final squeeze of lemon, and plonk in the middle of the table with some deep plate-bowls and a dish for the empty shells.