Cavatelli with mussels

Ingredients to serve 4
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90ml/6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

800g fresh mussels in their shells
1 fillet of anchovy, finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1x410g tin of plum tomatoes, chopped
Half a teaspoon oregano
Quarter of a red chilli, finely chopped
300g cavatelli pasta
Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt

When cooked, mussels exude a lot of liquid and, when combined with the tomatoes, this sauce becomes delicious and soupy. The mussels are cooked in the tomato sauce as well as their own juices, which adds to the taste. The pasta is finished in the same sauce so that it benefits from all the flavours, too.

Makes sure you have some good bread to serve alongside so that when you have finished eating the pasta, you can dip some bread in the leftover sauce. If you can't find cavatelli, you can use orecchiette.

Clean the mussels under cold running water, removing the hairy "beards" and discard any that have broken shells

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the anchovy, capers and garlic, and sweat. Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano, chilli and mussels. Stir well, partially cover with a lid and cook on a medium heat for 20minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in slightly salted boiling water until almost al dente.

Remove the opened mussels (keeping a few in their shells to garnish) and discard the shells. Discard any mussels that haven't opened. Return the shelled mussels to the sauce.

Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the pasta water, and place it in the tomato and mussel sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add some pasta water. Continue to cook the pasta in the sauce until it is al dente.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with the parsley and garnished with a few of the unshelled mussels.

From 'Gennaro's Easy Italian' by Gennaro Contaldo (Headline, £20)

Sommelier's choice

Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Pinot Noir 2007, USA

Aromas and flavours of black plum and black cherry, with hints of spice, are perfect for this dish.

Majestic, £14.99, Majestic.co.uk

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