If you have had your fill of holiday turkey, ham and roast beef, try this delicious pasta with mussels in a spicy tomato sauce from the Holiday 2011 issue of Food and Drink. Arrabbiata is the Italian word for angry, but you can tone down the heat in this dish if you wish by reducing the amount of hot pepper. The recipe calls for San Marzano canned tomatoes, which taste better than regular canned plum tomatoes, so use them if you can find them. Penne rigate has ridges, meaning the sauce will cling to it, but regular penne would be fine. Be sure to discard any mussels that won’t close before cooking and any that aren’t open after cooking.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that may contain artificial ingredients include the pancetta and tomatoes. Use nitrite-free bacon and a brand of tomatoes that contain only tomatoes (or tomatoes and salt).

Cut pancetta or nitrite-free bacon into thin strips

Garlic, hot peppers, onion and parsley

Saute bacon until crisp

Saute onions

Add tomatoes and cook until thick

Mussels Penne Arrabbiata


2 tbsp olive oil

2 oz thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, cut into thin strips

1 onion, thinly sliced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 hot red pepper, thinly sliced

1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes

12 oz penne rigate

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 lbs mussels, scrubbed

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley and/or basil


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.

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.

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

Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that 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.

Divide penne among warmed serving bowls. Ladle sauce and mussels overtop. Sprinkle with remaining pancetta and parsley and/or basil. Serves 4.

From the Holiday 2011 issue of Food and Drink