Ciao, welcome back to my blog!
Today I am going to share with you how to make creamy mussel pasta.
Mussel pasta is by far my favourite seafood pasta recipe and one of the most delightful authentic Italian recipes.
Those who follow me from the beginning will know that I grew up on the coast of Tuscany and in my hometown linguine with mussels is a must dish to master and every household has its own recipe.
Spaghetti with mussels is a super popular traditional pasta recipe for a reason: it is delicious and yet it is easy to prepare!
There are several mussels pasta recipes out there, however, what I prefer is the classic mussels pasta recipe without tomatoes.
I love simple dishes made with a few high quality, locally sourced, ingredients.
Mussels and pasta is the most perfect culinary combo as the pasta enhances the strong salty sea flavour of the mussels beautifully.
How to make the perfect spaghetti with mussels
The number one thing to make a mouthwatering pasta and mussels is to make sure that the mussels are super fresh.
I recommend getting them from your local fishmonger, instead of buying a bag of frozen mussels without the shells.
Frozen seafood is surely very handy, but it has been somehow processed and its typical sea taste is very mild.
It is very easy to do, it only requires a bit of patience to clean the mussel shells.
Admittedly, cleaning the shells is a bit of a pain, but once they are clean, the process is actually very quick as they don’t need to cook for a long time.
You can make the pasta sauce while your spaghetti is cooking.
It is totally worth it to buy fresh mussels with the shell, as it will prevent the meat from shrinking and becoming dry while cooking.
Keeping the shell will also help to keep the sea flavour of the mussels intact.
Another key factor to achieve a great mussel pasta is to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil.
Being this recipe made with so few ingredients, you really want the texture and the flavour mussel to stand out and excellent olive oil is essential to make sure that the sauce will turn up amazing without effort.
Check out this brilliant article from Real Simple:
Is high-quality olive oil worth the investment?
"When you cook with better extra virgin olive oil (extra virgin being this article's focus), it’s far easier to make dishes like a simple pasta taste great."
If you choose carefully your main ingredients, you’ll obtain a super fragrant pasta dish, and if you close your eyes you can imagine yourself enjoying it in a nice restaurant on the beach.
Time: 15 minutes cleaning the mussels + a total of 15 minutes cooking
Ingredients for 2:
500g mussels with the shell
250g Linguine or spaghetti pasta
A small bunch of fresh parsley
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp of high-quality extra virgin olive oil
Half a glass of white wine
A pinch of chilli flakes
A pinch of black pepper
A pinch of salt
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Make sure to clean the mussel shells properly: remove all the dirt and filaments from them. The best and fastest way to do so is by using a pan scourer.
Soak the clean mussels in some fresh water and add a teaspoon of salt. This will allow the mussels to filtrate any dirt they have left inside the shell
Bring to boil 1.5l of water for the pasta.
In the meantime, place the mussel in a pot with some parsley and one of the cloves of garlic cut in a half and set on high heat.
When the mussels are starting to open, pour the white wine and let the alcohol steam away.
Allow them to fully open, then turn off the heat.
Filter their liquid with the help of a fine sieve or a nutbag and set it aside. We will use it, later on, to make the sauce creamy.
Remove the meat from the shells but leave some with the shell to garnish the dish.
When the water for the pasta is boiling, add a tbsp of salt and spaghetti.
Cook them “al dente”, which means not completely.
It usually takes around 8-9 minutes depending on the kind of pasta. Set aside a cup of pasta water that will come in handy to loosen the sauce in case it is a bit dry.
The amid of the pasta will give the sauce a wonderful silky texture.
It is the chef’s secret to make an excellent creamy pasta dish!
In a pan, drizzle the olive oil, the chilli flakes, the filtered liquid from the mussels and thinly chopped parsley and the garlic.
Set on high heat for a minute, then drain the pasta and toss it in the pan as well as the cooked mussel meat.
Add some of the pasta water, stir well and let all the flavours combine together for a couple of minutes.
Serve hot with a sprinkle of extra parsley leaves on top and a drizzle of black pepper.
And there you have a yummy pasta with mussels!
Enjoy your lip-smacking pasta with a chilled glass of dry white wine, the best choice with this kind of seafood.
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