Trav’s 'Muscle' Madness
When Borgy threw down the $10 tight-arse challenge I headed straight to my favourite East Gippsland hideaway. There’s a spot there near the entrance, hidden just below the surface where barnacle encrusted mussels grow wild on the ancient rocks. They live in a cocktail of water running down from the Great Dividing Range, splashing in to the Tasman Sea. They are the magical ingredient in my $10 challenge. What’s more, they’re 100 percent free (not allowing for the $30,000 boat I skippered to get there!). Anyway, this recipe was passed on by a salty old Italian fisherman, so it’s guaranteed to be simple yet flavoursome. PREPARATION Start with a large pot for the mussels and a smaller pot for the pasta. Add some water to the smaller pot and bring to boil, but don’t add the pasta yet. Sample the wine. Brown the garlic and onion in the large pot with the oil, and then add the crushed tomatoes. Once mixed, add a glass of white wine, pop the lid on and simmer on low. Drink glass of wine. Time to add the pasta to the pot of now-boiling water. Sprinkle some salt and olive oil into the pot so it looks like you know what you’re doing. Now chop the chili fine and throw in the red broth with all the mussels as well. You’ll wish you had a bigger pot at this point. Give it the pepper treatment and stir the mussels through. Have another glass of wine. Simmer until the mussels open – and then just enough for the meat to firm up a little bit (about 5 mins). Serve on top of the now cooked pasta with some parsley on top for effect. Eat the closed ones. Mop up with some crusty bread if the budget allows! Finish with a glass of wine if there’s any left.