Recipes from Chef Suvir Saran’s American Masala
Fast, fresh and simple, this mussels and pasta dinner can be on the table in 20 minutes. The sauce is infused with basil twice — in the beginning it is fried with the cracked pepper and at the end it is added fresh with the mussels. Frying fresh and dried herbs and spices is an Indian culinary trick that adds depth and an extra layer of intensity to just about any dish.
3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup basil leaves, 1/3 roughly chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cracked peppercorns
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 pounds mussels, debearded and scrubbed
1 pound conchiglie pasta shells or other pasta shapes
3 cups boxed or canned chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp kosher salt
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, cook until al dente, drain and set aside. While the pasta boils, cook the mussels.
Heat the olive oil, chopped basil, red pepper flakes, and cracked pepper in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat for two minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, for about one minute. Add the mussels, cook for 30 seconds and then cover the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until all of the mussels open, about three to four minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the mussels from the skillet and set aside. Stir the tomatoes and salt into the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, for about four minutes. Add mussels and any accumulated juices back to the skillet along with the cooked pasta and whole basil leaves, using tongs to toss together. Cover the skillet, cook for one minute to combine the flavours and serve.