December 20, 2008
Reprinted from The Splendid Table's How to East Supper: Recipes, Stories, and Opinions from Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2008). Copyright 2008 by American Public Media.
Fresh mussels steam in a fragrant sauce of onions, garlic, herbs, white wine and tomatoes, then the whole heady mix gets tossed with linguine for a light but satisfying supper in a bowl.
Serves 4 to 5
1. Lightly film a 6-quart pot with olive oil. Set it over medium-high heat and stir in the onions, herbs, a light sprinkling of salt, and a generous amount of pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot, and steam the onions 4 to 5 minutes, or until they're soft and clear. Don't let them brown.
2. Return the heat to medium-high. Stir in the garlic and wine. Boil the wine until 2/3 of it evaporates. Add the tomatoes, bring the sauce to a simmer, and add the mussels. Cover the pot, turn the heat down to medium, and cook them for 5 minutes.
3. Once the shells open an inch, the mussels are ready. Immediately lift them out with tongs into a large pasta bowl. Continue cooking any not fully opened mussels for another 2 minutes. At this point, discard unopened ones. Pile the remaining mussels in the bowl. Now, with the tongs, remove the mussel meat from about half the shells. Leave the meat in the bowl and discard the shells.
4. Simmer the sauce left in the pot for a minute or two to concentrate flavors. Then add the capers and pasta to the sauce, toss over medium high heat for a minute or so to permeate the pasta with the sauce. Then turn everything into the bowl with the mussels. Blend together, taste for seasoning, and then sprinkle with the parsley and serve hot. No cheese accompanies this pasta. Sop up the sauce with the bread.
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.