I fancied Seafood Pasta for dinner today. Dinner usually is where I rustle things without referring to a recipe. I may get an idea here and there but when it comes to the creating of the dish it's all heat of the moment and can be a dash of this here....splash of that there....no idea of quantity but what I think looks right at the time.
I saw a net of fresh mussels in their shells in the supermarket and decided dinner was going to be Mussel Spaghetti. They are Scottish Mussels which I think are rope-grown, ie farmed or cultivated as opposed to wild. (Just checked the packaging - they are from Loch Roag, rope-grown in the Outer Hebrides.)
I didn't stop to think of taking photos so I could blog this - it's only whilst I was chomping my pasta and got some appreciatory nods and "Well done dear." from the hubbs that made me think......should've taken photos so I can blog this dish! You will have to make do with the small portion in a tub which will be hubbs lunch-box for tomorrow. Hardly very artistic I hasten to add!
If you want to know what I did, read on, amounts are a guesstimate as I don't measure what I create for dinner - baking is more of an exact science so they are often measured.
1kg net of mussels
4 shallots - sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
knob of butter
handful of parsley, chopped
50ml sherry (should be white wine, but had Amontillado Sherry to hand!)
4 small tomatoes, roughly chopped (I like on the vine tomatoes)
100ml double cream
Spaghetti for 2 persons
First clean the mussels. (I placed them in a bowl of cold water to wash them and I pulled off the hairy beards. I discarded any that had a cracked broken shell and any that were open and didn't close when I squeezed the shell shut. Then I placed them in a colander.)
Cook the spaghetti according to pack instructions. (I used linguine and simmered for 9 minutes before draining and returning to the pan.)
Whilst the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the shallots and garlic and fry gently for 2 minutes until they soften and begin to colour.
Tip in the mussels, add the sherry and place lid on pan. Shake occasionally so mussels can cook evenly. Let the mussels steam for 4-6 minutes until they open. (I didn't want to overcook them so they turn tough as they would be cooked again briefly.)
Tip the mussels into a colander and reserve the cooking liquor. Pick out the mussel meat from the shells and keep aside in a bowl.
Clean out the large saucepan and pour the reserved liquor back into the pan but leave the last little bit of liquid as it may contain sand or grit. Add the drained spaghetti to the pan and warm through, tip in the mussel meat and pour in any juices that may be in the bowl - again leave last bit of liquid behind in case of any grit.
Add the chopped tomatoes and cream, stir and cook for a minute.
Stir in the parsley, remove from heat and serve. Lovely with crusty bread to dip in the juices. If the spaghetti looks too dry for your liking, add a splash or water or milk to the pan and heat through before serving.
The recipe is basically the same as for Moules Mariniere but with added cream and tomatoes. The cream adds richness to the sauce but it is classically made with white wine. I liked the addition of tomato as it not only provided colour but I think it gave a little sharpness to the finished dish. Fresh parsley always tastes refreshing in a dish too. It may not be text-book correct but it's what I made and it was enjoyed by my hubbs and myself.