Updated: Nov 5
Mussels with Tagliolini Pasta (Cozze con Tagliolini)
There are as many ways to cook mussels with pasta as there are Italian cooks; so we just picked one favorite that uses a lesser-known pasta. Delicious and easy to make, it lets the flavor of the mussels shine through, which is the essence of Italian cooking: let the ingredients speak for themselves. Well, ok ... so there is some butter involved.
Ingredients (serves 6; see notes about serving portions)
2 lbs Mussels, bearded
1 cup dry White Wine
2-3 Shallots, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbl fresh Chervil, minced (substitute fresh Parsley or Taragon if unavailable)
3 Tbls Olive Oil
1 bulb Fennel, cleaned and cut into strips
2 red Bell Peppers, roasted and cut into narrow strips (see notes)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 lb Butter, cut in 16 pieces
1 1/2 pounds Tagliolini (substitute other pasta if desired)
Steam mussels with wine and shallots in covered pot until they open; discard any that do not. Remove mussels from shells, and reserve (see note below on shells).
Strain liquid through a fine mesh sieve, into a small sauce pan. Boil to reduce down to about 3-4 tablespoons.
In a separate pan, sauté the garlic and chervil inn the olive oil over medium heat for about 2 mins (do not brown). Add fennel, lower heat slightly and sauté until just limp. Add peppers and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste. Add mussels, cover to keep warm, and set aside.
In another pan, Set wine reduction on low-medium heat, and whisk two pieces of butter into the wine reduction. Whisk in remaining butter one piece at a time. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside but keep warm so that the butter does not congeal.
Cook Tagliolini according to package instructions. Drain, and place in a warm bowl. Toss with about 3/4 of the butter sauce. Add the mussels and vegetable mixture and toss.
Serve on warm plates, spooning remaining sauce over each to taste. Garnish with chervil or similar leaves, and serve.
Pasta: 1/4 lb per person is good if the pasta is served as a first course; if it's the main course double to 1/2 lb. This recipe is for a first course for six.
To roast the peppers: stem, quarter, and seed and core the peppers. Place skin side up on a baking sheet, and place under the broiler. Once skin blackens, remove from over, place in a paper bag, seal, and leave for 15 mins. Remove and peel off skins.
Some people prefer to leave the mussels in the shells for the visual effect; that can' however, make tossing more difficult. Other will simply add a few shells back in to each plate before serving. The choice is yours.
A great toasted bread -- baguette, Italian, or boule -- is a wonderful accompaniment to sop up the butter sauce.