Fra Diavolo translates to “brother devil” in Italian. In other words — spicy! Just 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes provides a serious punch of heat, which is known to help speed metabolism. Fregola, also derived from Italy, is round semolina pasta. These pearly grains build a hearty base in a fiery broth filled with vegetables and lean-protein mussels.
Mussels Fra Diavolo with Fennel, Leeks & Fregola
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 fennel bulbs, stalks and fronds removed, quartered and sliced
1 leek, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) red wine
1 can (28 oz./875 g.) peeled whole tomatoes
3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml.) low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
2 Tbs. minced fresh oregano
1 cup (8 oz./250 g.) fregola
2 lb. (1 kg.) mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Warm the oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, leek and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and saute until fragrant, about 1 more minute.
Add the wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the whole tomatoes and, using a wooden spoon, break up the tomatoes in the saucepan. Add the broth and oregano and bring to a boil. Add the fregola and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 12 minutes, or according to package directions.
Add the mussels and cover the pot. Steam until the mussels open, 8-10 minutes.
Discard any mussels that haven’t opened. Stir in more broth, if desired, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the parsley, and serve. Serves 6.
Find more wholesome recipes for every day of the year in our new cookbook, Healthy Dish of the Day, by Kate McMillan.