Recipe: Tomato, Chilli and Mussel Soup

Bill’s Italian Food is the 11th and latest cookbook from self-taught cook Bill Granger. It is filled with over 100 tasty Italian inspired dishes concentrating on seasonal produce, Bill’s style of cooking centres around short ingredient lists and simple methods – bringing delicious dishes to the dinner tables of millions. These recipes are perfect for those just starting out in the kitchen as well as the more experienced culinary artist.

In the lead-up to the August 1 release of Bill’s Italian Food we thought we would bring you some tempting dishes to spice up your dinner table.

If you’re going to serve soup for a main course, then it needs to be pretty substantial (it does in my house anyway). Rice and pea soup (risi e bisi) has to be the ultimate ‘empty pantry’ dinner trick. The chicken meatballs are a lovely (and lighter) alternative to red meat and you can pack the soup with more vegies if you need to stretch it a little further. – Bill Granger

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Tomato, Chilli and Mussel Soup

Mussels are something I don’t tend to choose mid-week, but I have no idea why! They’re not expensive and are quick to cook, especially now we can buy them cleaned from the supermarket. Use sweet, ripe tomatoes here; I like to mix a few varieties of different shapes and colours.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1.5kg mixed tomatoes, large ones halved
small bunch thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
1 fennel, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 red chillies, chopped
400g tin diced tomatoes
180ml (3/4 cup) dry white wine
1kg mussels, de-bearded and scrubbed
500ml (2 cups) fish stock, heated

Method:

Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Place the fresh tomatoes in a large roasting tin and scatter with the thyme.
Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with sea salt. Roast for 20–25 minutes, until soft and juicy.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan with a lid, over medium heat. Add the shallots, sliced fennel, garlic and chilli and cook for 5 minutes. Tip in the tinned tomatoes, wine and half the roasted tomatoes and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the mussels. Cover with the lid, shake the pan and allow to steam for 3 minutes, or until the mussels open. Discard any that do not open. Pour in the hot fish stock, gently fold through the remaining roasted tomatoes and serve topped with the fennel fronds.

Recipe taken from Bill’s Italian Food by Bill Granger, published by HarperCollins, RRP $49.99

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