We’ve been on a real mussels kick at our house lately. It seems like I’ve been making my coconut curry mussels about once a week! This past weekend I decided to switch things up and go Italian style a la linguine and mussels. Linguine and mussels is another one of those dishes that’s a real crowd pleaser and only takes about 30 minutes to prepare.
This is my kind of comfort food: a big bowl of satisfying pasta tossed in a light tomato and garlic sauce topped with succulent mussels. For the sauce, I used fresh tomatoes, garlic, white wine, lemon zest and fresh basil. The use of fresh ingredients really elevates this dish.
When cooking mussels, it’s imperative to seek out the freshest you can find. I’ve been buying them from our local Whole Foods Market. Technically, they’re farm-raised mussels but they are cultivated in open waters on ropes. Since they grow on ropes, they are less sandy and gritty than wild mussels. Once you’ve acquired your mussels, you want to make sure they are alive when you go to cook them. This can be ensured by running them under cold water. They should close when the water hits them. I like to place the mussels in a colander in the sink and run cold water over them. Any that do not close get thrown out. When the mussels are cooked, they should open fully. If they do not open, I toss them.
Notice my emphasis on fresh? Fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mussels: the key to any delicious meal is fresh ingredients. I’m anxiously awaiting replanting my garden so that I have an abundance of fresh ingredients at all times.
- 8 ounces linguine
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, 2 sliced and 2 minced
- 3 large heirloom tomatoes, chopped
- ¾ cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 pound fresh mussels
- handful of fresh basil, chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook linguine per directions on the package.
- Heat butter and olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add tomatoes and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes.
- Add white wine to pan and allow to come to a simmer. Add mussels, cover and cook until all the mussels open. This should take about 4 to 6 minutes.
- Once mussels are done cooking, remove from heat. Stir in the lemon zest and salt.
- Place cooked pasta in a large serving dish. Pour mussels and sauce over pasta. Garnish with chopped fresh basil.