Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Linguini with Mussels

1 pound of linguini.
1/4 olive oil.
2/3 cup white wine.
6-8 garlic cloves, minced.
2 pounds of live mussels in the shell, scrubbed and de-bearded.
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian flat leaf "plain" parsley.
2 tablespoons of butter (optional).
1 cup fresh grated parmesan.

Set 6 quarts of water to boil. Add linguini and cook "al dente". Drain. Heat the oil in a large covered frying pan, add the garlic, but only cook a minute at most, garlic is delicate, do not brown. Add the wine and heat to boiling point. Add about half the parsley,then add the mussels and cover for 5 minutes, at simmering. Then toss in the remaining parsley, serve the mussels over the pasta, liberally adding the juice to the plate. Melt butter and parmesan over the top of the presentation. I recommend a good Jerez (sherry), preferably a Manzanilla or a Fino, for both in the cooking and accompanying.

The means by which careful selection of live mussels which are free from possible contamination will vary from location to location. Check for local advisories. Here we only buy them in the "r" months, e.g., September through April. I make sure the shells are intact and not broken, then scrub and remove "beards" while rinsing in cold water. Shells that do not open when cooked merit discarding the mussel.

- Eric

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