This is a classic Italian dish packed with fresh mussels plus a light tomato sauce and crispy bacon. Surprisingly easy!
1) Scrub and rinse mussels. If you have time, let them rest in clean cold water in the fridge to flush out any sand. Pull out any mussel “beards”.
2) In a large skillet, add chopped bacon over low heat. Let the bacon slowly render out until crispy. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the bacon grease.
3) Add chopped shallot and garlic to the skillet and cook for a few minutes. Turn heat up to medium. Add white wine, vegetable stock, and cleaned mussels. Cover the skillet and cook until mussels open and are cooked through, maybe 5-6 minutes.
4) Remove mussels from the skillet and taste one. If they are sandy at all, rinse them with cold water to rinse off as much sand as possible. Then remove about 3/4 of the mussels from the shells. Leave some in the shells for presentation.
5) Add diced tomatoes to the skillet with the shallot mixture and juices. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, maybe 5-6 minutes. Season sauce with red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
6) Meanwhile, cook linguine in a large pot of salted water. Cook until al dente. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.
7) Add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to the thickened tomato sauce and stir together until it’s the right consistency. Add cooked mussels back into the sauce. Add linguine in the skillet and toss well to combine.
8) Transfer finished linguine to a large serving platter. Top with crispy bacon and chopped parsley. Serve immediately!