Thursday, 27 October 2011

Mussel Conchiglie

I was first alerted to this pasta recipe from @patrickji - this mussel pasta is from The River Cafe Two Easy cookbook. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it. The pasta looked silky and comforting, which is my kind of dish.

Instead of ditaloni, a small tube shape said to be the same size as the small, sweet mussels, I used conchiglie instead. The name, meaning 'shell' in Italian made perfect sense to use them with the mussels; there's something quite satisfying in removing the mussels from their proper shells to be but back in with some edible ones.

Though a fairly time-consuming recipe, it's definitely a keeper. Despite the cream, it tastes light and fresh but luxurious too. The shells are very good at scooping up the sauce and hiding mussels within them. Of course I had to put my own spin on it and add some lemon zest for some citrus flavour that I find essential with seafood.

Mussel Conchiglie

Serves 3 (the River Cafe recipe says 4 but 2 of us finished it and were slightly stuffed, so I've compromised at 3)

320gr conchiglie
1 kg mussels
2 cloves of garlic
200gr butter
170ml double cream
120ml white wine
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp flatleaf parsley, chopped finely
1 tsp lemon juice

Scrub and debeard the mussels. Discard any with a cracked shell, or if they're open and they don't close with a firm tap. Chop the garlic finely and add half the butter to a large pan with the olive oil. Once frothing, add the garlic, mussels and the white wine and cook with a lid on, high heat, until all the mussels open - a few minutes.

Take off the heat and strain, reserving the mussel juices. Pick the mussels from their shells and discard the shells.

Meanwhile, put a pan of water on to boil for the pasta. Cook until just under al dente.
Add the cream to the mussel juices with the other half of the butter and simmer to reduce. Once the pasta is done, drain well reserving a couple tablespoons of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the cream mixture and cook for a further couple of minutes until the pasta is just done, then add in the lemon juice and mussels. Stir a few times for the mussels to warm in the sauce, then add the parsley and take off the heat. Season and serve.

12 comments:

thelittleloaf said...

Yum, this looks like just my kind of pasta dish. And the mussels removed from their shells so you can shovel more in at once - amazing (I'm kidding...kind of). Great recipe.

catty said...

mmmmmmmmm i could go for a bit of mussels and shells. Looks great and good to know it's not heavy despite the cream cos that's always the downfall of creamy pastas....

Helen said...

Oh man, that looks amazing :-)

Cornflower Kitchen said...

I love mussels... had the biggest ever in Sept at the seafood cafe in Penzance.. this recipe sounds fab with pasta!

Nora said...

Ooooh, yum! I love seafoody, citrusy, creamy, winey pasta - and I can't believe I've never done it with mussels. Sounds fab.

Anonymous said...

This looks insanely good and I would like a bowl of it, just like in the picture, right now please!x

Corina said...

I love the idea of using the conchiglie almost as a replacement for the mussel shells. Sounds lovely.

Anonymous said...

This article is a really good one. Tender thanks for partitioning such great low-down out. Ill deff be stoping by more times then i do so i an see whats amazing!

Gourmet Chick said...

I love mussels and they are such a great, cheap (and sustainable) seafood fix that this sounds like a great way to do them somewhat differently to my usual cider or white wine treatment.

Lizzie said...

Little loaf - absolutely! Maximum shovellage needed.

Catty - yes, the cream sauce can often be the cause of an epic pasta coma...

Helen - thanks :)

Cornflower Kitchen - I love mussels too, strange really given how gross they look.

Nora - I guess it's the ritual of eating the mussels out of shell that we're all used to.

Corina - thanks!

Anon - thanks.

Gourmet Chick - yep; I think I paid £3.75 for a kilo so bargainous.

Greedy Diva said...

I have regular cravings for pasta with mussels or clams. Thanks for bringing on another one!!

Tesco Value Chef said...

This looks excellent. I buy smoked mussels from Sussex Smokers when they're out of season - I think I'll try making this with those!