Tag Archives: pasta

Spaghetti with Mussels

How is everyone doing today? I have been exhausted all day for no apparent reason. I even set my alarm 20 minutes later just to get those few extra minutes. Didn’t seem to help. Anyone else have one of those days recently?

Any who, anyway. This week Jewel had mussels on sale. It has been quite some time since I last had some mussels so I knew that we would be buying them this week. Here are a few fun nutrition facts about mussels: they are very high in vitamin B-12, selenium and manganese. A 3-oz. portion of cooked mussel meat provides 20.4 mcg of vitamin B-12, or roughly 340 percent of the recommended daily value. They are low in calories and fat. Mussels contain appreciable amounts of the health-promoting Omega-3 fatty acids.

I soaked the mussels in some water for about 10 minutes to get rid of any sand/grit leftover after harvesting. Once soaked and cleaned, I removed any already open shells. When they are open before cooking it is likely that they were poorly handled or exposed to too much air prior to buying. Only one of my mussels was open already.

I started by cooking some whole wheat spaghetti in one pot and sauteing minced garlic in olive oil in a second pot.

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Once the garlic was soft, I added in white wine, vegetable broth (the only kind in the pantry at the moment), red pepper flakes and some salt. I mixed the broth up before adding in the mussels and placing on the lid to let the mussels steam. Every few minutes I would give the pan a shake to mix that tasty broth up. After about 10 minutes the pasta was done and the mussels were open. Prior to draining the pasta, I reserved 1/2 cup pasta sauce to help thicken the broth to coat the pasta. It was added into the mussel broth and then the pasta was added. Everything got mixed up and covered in the broth before serving. We had side salads of simple mixed greens to add color and veggies to the meal.

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After dinner, Alex and I shared some ice cream while watching the season premiere of NCIS season 11. It was pretty good but I’m feeling sad at the ending of the episode. One of the team not returning??? What? Why? How have I been so out of the loop on this? At least dinner was tasty.

Spaghetti with Mussels and White Wine Sauce (Serves 4)

1/2 package whole wheat spaghetti

1-2# mussels (2# was a lot even for 4 servings but it means Alex will get a bunch in his lunch tomorrow)

3/4 C vegetable broth

1/2 C white wine (I used Pinot Grigio because I had a bottle open)

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp olive oil

pinch red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

1. Cook pasta according the directions on the package, prior to draining reserve 1/2 C pasta water

2. Add olive oil to a large sauce pan that is big enough to hold all of your mussels. Saute garlic until soft and just turning golden brown

3. Add in broth, wine, salt, red pepper flakes.

4. Pour in the mussels and cover the pan with a lid. Let steam for 10 minutes. Don’t lift the lid until after 10 minutes otherwise you lose the steam and it will take longer for the mussels to cook.

5. Remove any unopened shells, they were likely dead before going into the pan. Add in the reserved pasta water and the pasta. Mix well.

6. Serve immediately. You can remove some of the mussels from their shells prior to serving to make it easier to mix, serve, eat. I ended up taking about half out of their shells so it would fit our plates better.

How do you like to prepare your mussels or favorite shell fish?

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Fall Inspired Pasta

Last night I made an awesome dinner. It was probably the best of my creations all fall. For the past two weeks, I have had a 2 lb butternut squash sitting on my kitchen counter. I just could not figure out what I wanted to make with it yet. Then, I bought Chicken Apple Gouda Sausage from Costco. And just like that the inspiration hit. I would make a pasta with roasted butternut squash and the Chicken Sausage. It worked even better than I could have imagined.

I sliced the sausage on an angle and the creamy Gouda melted down to create an amazingly creamy sauce. It was voted a winner in my house. And, it tasted just as awesome this afternoon for lunch. The recipe is as follows:Image

Chicken Apple Sausage, Butternut Squash Pasta in a Creamy Tomato Parmesan Sauce

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 2lb Butternut Squash

1 package (6 links) Chicken Apple Gouda Sausage

2 medium tomatoes

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 box your choice Penne pasta (I used Ronzoni Smart Taste because my family doesn’t like the whole wheat variety)

Olive oil, salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 F

2. Peel and cube your butternut squash into bite size pieces.

3. Place squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. I used about 1/5-1 Tbsp for the entire sheet. Salt and pepper the squash and give it a good mix. Stick it in the oven to bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring at 20 mins. You want it to get a little caramelized so it’ll bake a little longer than what other recipes call for.

4. After you’ve stirred the squash. Start your water in a pot to boil. I used a medium saucepan for mine. Start the next steps while waiting for it to boil.

5. Slice the chicken sausage on an angle getting 7-8 pieces per link. Then dice your tomatoes.

6. Start a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Let warm for 2-3 minutes then add in your chicken sausage and tomatoes. The Gouda and tomatoes at this point will start making the sauce. Mine got a little dry and I added another teaspoon of olive oil to the pan to keep things moving.

7. At this point your water should be boiling so cook your pasta according to the box. Before you drain, reserve a quarter cup of pasta water or so to help make the sauce.

8. Now its just an add everything to the sausage and tomatoes as they finish sort of deal. My order was butternut squash then I added in half the Parmesan to make stirring a little easier. Then I added in my drained pasta and the reserved pasta water. Mixed it all up and mixed in the last of the Parmesan.

There it is! My new favorite pasta dish. Feel free to play around with it. Add more tomatoes or leave them out if you don’t like them. Add more pasta if you want. Cooking is all about feel and what you want. Make it yours.

What has been your favorite dish you have made so far this fall? I’d love to hear about it!

Laura

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