Sunday, April 14, 2013

Italian Mussels and Pasta

About a week ago we decided to go to the Farmers Market for something to do on a Sunday. You never really know what you'll find or what you'll be inspired to make. We had recently had some pretty amazing Mussels at the new pub by our place and figured we could attempt our own. I had never made them or even really looked at them when we've been at the fish shop so this was all around new for me.

Mussels are probably one of the cheaper shell fish varieties at around $6/lb. Considering we're no where near an ocean, that is fine with me. We also picked up some nice scallops - those ring in at closer to $25/lb. Worth every cent, as long as you take the time to cook them right. But back to the mussels. I knew I had a few different recipes hidden away, in favourites folders, cookbooks and so on. At first we were really feeling a beer steamed mussel feast. But we kind of decided that was better for more of an appetizer situation and we were cooking for dinner. So this is the recipe I picked and changed in traditional fashion. It comes highly recommended, even the basic tomato sauce was really good.

Italian Mussels and Pasta
Adapted slightly from Here

  • 8 ounces  buccatini
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Basil, about 2 tbsp packed. 
  • pound  mussels, cleaned
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • Big pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
    If you've never made mussels or just want a refresher, I found this page (with a video even!) to help you figure out how to prep them. It is a bit of a pain, also I would highly recommend that you buy an extra half pound of mussels in case some die. All of ours were very much alive but after the scrubbing they had died (So Sad..)
    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Cover to keep warm.
    Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until it just begins to colour, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully add crushed tomatoes (the mixture may splatter) and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
    Meanwhile, bring mussels and wine to a boil in a Dutch oven (or other large pot) over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook until the mussels open, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the mussels with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. (Discard any unopened mussels.)
    Strain the mussel broth through a fine-mesh sieve into the tomato sauce. Stir in crushed red pepper and simmer over medium heat for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle about half the sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. Divide the pasta, top with mussels and spoon the remaining sauce over the mussels.

    We served ours up with a tosted bun with garlic butter.

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