Mussels and Chorizo in Spicy Garlicky Tomato Sauce

This dish combines the bold flavors of Italy and Spain. Simple to make, hearty and delicious, this will likely make it into your regular rotation.


  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. Approximately 12oz Spanish Chorizo, sliced into 1/4 inch coins (Note: You want Spanish Chorizo Not Mexican Chorizo. Mexican Chorizo, while delicious, crumbles apart like ground beef. Can’t find Spanish Chorizo? Substitute Cajun Andouille, Louisiana Hot Links or any spicy smoked sausage of your choice.)
  3. Approximately 1lb mussels, scrubbed and debearded (or, believe it or not, these frozen, vacuum-packed microwavable mussels from ALDI, or ones like them are actually quite good – and way easier.)
  4. 1 medium onion, diced
  5. 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  6. Generous pinch red pepper flakes, depending on desired heat level
  7. Zest of about half an orange
  8. Pinch saffron threads (optional, Trader Joe’s has a nice little jar for about six bucks or order on Amazon for next time).
  9. 1 cup white wine
  10. 1 28oz can San Marzano or whole peeled plum tomatoes
  11. 1 lb spaghetti, linguine or pasta of your choice, cooked according to package directions, less about 1 minute
  12. Parmesan cheese and sliced lemon, to finish


  1. Get 2-3 quarts of water on and bring to a boil for the pasta, or do a couple batches in an electric tea kettle to save time. Season generously with kosher salt.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or sauté pan. Add sliced sausage allow to brown, stirring around to insure even browning on both sides, 3 – 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve.
  3. Add onion to sausage fat; reduce heat if necessary (You want to sweat the onions, not brown them). Sweat onion in sausage fat until soft and fairly translucent, another 3 – 5 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and orange zest. Stir to incorporate and continue to sauté until very fragrant, 1 -2 minutes. This is what heaven smells like.
  5. Add wine and bring to a simmer
  6. Add pinch of saffron threads, if using.
  7. Simmer wine until reduced by at least half, 5 – 7 minutes.
  8. Add tomatoes and crush against the sides of the pan to release juices, or use a potato masher (or crush them by hand ahead of time, whatever you want to do).
  9. Fill can about half way with warm water and slosh around to capture any remaining juices. Add to pan and stir.
  10. Bring sauce to a simmer and continue to simmer until sauce is thickened nicely, 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.
  11. While sauce is reducing, drop pasta into boiling water and cook about 1 minute less than package directions, stirring occasionally.
  12. Also, while sauce is reducing and pasta is cooking, steam mussels covered until all are open; discard any that do not open. If using microwavable version, follow package directions – it takes about 6-8 minutes.
  13. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Bring sauce up to a steady simmer and finish pasta in the sauce, stirring and shaking occasionally.
  14. Transfer pasta and sauce to serving dishes. Toss with mussels and reserved sausage, and more sauce if you like.
  15. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and lemon slices.

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