Mezze penne, mussel sauce
========================== 2021-12-12

Comment: use fresh mussels if possible. I assume you can use cooked mussels in a jar, but I haven't tried.
For the pasta, consider mezze maniche (rigate), which are a size in line with the mussels or larger mezzi rigatoni. When preparing the sauce, do not reduce too much, stop to just barely topping because the pasta will absorb some of the sauce.

Serves 4


Cooking the mussels:

1+ kg of fresh mussels
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic in slices
4 dl white wine
1 bay leaf
1 or 2 branches of celery (depending on size) cut into pieces.

Preparation of the sauce:

1 shallot, chopped
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 small chopped red (hot) pepper, seeded
40 cl cream (35% MF))
S + P

400 g of mezze maniche or similar

chopped chives to serve (not optional)


Heat the pasta water with salt.

Mussels: scrape and wash the mussels under running water - do not soak them.

In a casserole, with a generous portion of butter, sweat the onion, add the garlic, then after a minute, the wine and celery.
Bring to a boil, then add the mussels, stir and cover for a few minutes over high heat, until the mussels are open, stirring once or twice during cooking (3 to 4 minutes).

Set the mussels aside in a colander to collect the cooking juices. Filter the cooking juices and set aside.

Remove 3/4 of the mussels from the shells - keep the best looking ones with their shells.

Put the pasta to cook at the right time according to their cooking time.

The sauce:

Fry the shallots, the chilli and the garlic in a little EVOO or butter for 5 minutes.
Add 4 dl of water from the mussels.

Add 1 bay leaf and let reduce 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the cream, reduce again to almost topping and check the seasoning (salt, should be OK).

Put the mussels in the sauce and warm up on a very low heat.

When the pasta is ready, drain it and pour it over the sauce.

Serve with a little chopped chives.