Mussels are certainly interesting little characters… They are intimidating (for me) at first but once you get down to it, they are rather simple little creatures. They thrive in clusters in both salt and fresh water, they live off of plankton as well as other microscopic sea creatures, and in America during the second world war mussels were served to soldiers for dinner due to lack of red meat! Pretty majestic if you ask me! Too bad sea food still freaks me out, but slowly as I cook it for Mikey, I am starting to come around a bit! Its a slow journey but I will get there at some point!
So this is a recipe I came across on Food & Wine that sounded simple and interesting enough that I thought I would give it a try! I found it here at: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pasta-with-mussels and while I didn’t have any saffron threads like the recipe called for, feel free to add a pinch! Just because I didn’t do it, does not mean that you have to miss out on it!
4 Lbs Small Mussels; scrubbed & debearded
1 Box Angle Hair Pasta
4 Bay Leaves
6 Garlic Cloves; sliced thin
1/4 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Pinch of Saffron Threads (optional)
2 Cups Dry White Wine; chardonnay or pinot grigio
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper
Pour wine into a large pot.
Add bay leaves and bring to a boil.
Once it is boiling add the mussels…
Wooo hoo I did it without getting attached to the little buggers and feeling bad this time!
Cover and cook for 5 minutes while shaking a few times over medium high heat.
You will know that they are done once they have all opened their shells.
Strain the pot over a large bowl with a colander to reserve the broth.
Look at them bad boys…. Mikey better love them because it is breaking my spirit little by little by boiling these things live…
Set yourself up with a trash bag for the shells and a small bowl for the mussels.
Once you have removed all of the mussels from their shells toss them in the melted butter.
Now that they are swimming in butter, cover our magical little mussels with plastic wrap and set aside.
Pour the broth into a large glass measuring bowl and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. (Don’t mind my scratched up saute pan, its the one that is designated to the roommates so that my other ones don’t get beat up)
Add garlic and saute for about 4 minutes or until golden in color.
Add crushed red pepper flaked and cook another minute.
Pour in the reserved mussel broth stopping once you reach the grit at the bottom of the measuring bowl.
Add lemon juice…
And simmer over high heat until it has reduced to about one cup.
Once the broth has reduced, pour it over your cooked angle hair pasta and add the mussels with butter as well.
Give it a good toss to combine the broth, butter, and mussels evenly.
Plate and serve immediately!