Makes 2 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 to 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes – preferably San Marzano
1 cup dry white wine
2 dashes hot pepper flakes or to taste
Kosher sea salt
2 pounds mussels
A big handful of roughly chopped fresh basil
Crusty Italian bread

Heat the oil over high heat in a pot large enough to hold the mussels comfortably. Add the garlic and cook just until you can smell it, about 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes, wine, and 1 cup of water. Add the red pepper flakes and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the broth is slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir the mussels into the broth, cover the pot, and cook until the mussels open, 4 to 5 minutes. Throw in the basil and give a good stir. Slice your bread into dipping-size pieces. Toast the pieces in a skillet or oven.

Carefully–so that you don’t splash tomato all over the place–ladle the mussels and broth into a large bowl. Bring it all out to the table along with the bread and have individual plates to eat over and to put shells in.