Mussels Marinara Cozze Alla Marinara
This dish is a great example of how combining simple, fresh ingredients can yield a quickly prepared and very flavorful, nutritious and economical meal. My grandmother prepared cozze alla marinara and when I first learned the difference between Marinara Sauce and “Italian Gravy”. Marinara sauce, which means “sailor’s sauce” in Italian, is a very simple sauce prepared with white wine, crushed canned tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Marinara sauce cooks fairly quickly, resulting in its bright, reddish-orange color. The gravy, on the other hand, is a heavier tomato sauce that is simmered for hours and has a thick, deep-red consistency.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed and peeled
4 1/2 pounds mussels (preferably cultivated), scrubbed and beards removed
1 cup dry white wine
2 T of soft unsalted butter
1 pound tomatoes, quartered, seeded and roughly chopped
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 baguette, cut on the diagonal into ½-inch slices and lightly toasted
In a heavy pot with lid, heat oil and garlic over medium heat until warm and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add mussels and wine, then stir in tomatoes, and pinch salt and pepper. Cook mussels, covered, stirring occasionally, until opened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels. Add parsley and butter to mussels and stir to combine. Serve with baguette.