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mussel & leek fettucine

July 29, 2009

“I’m cooking lunch for five” I said to M & Zo over a food court lunch “and I don’t know what to make.” The boys looked at me quizzically. “Surely it isn’t that hard,” said M. “just go with something you’re comfortable with.” “Yes,” said Zo “but if you’ve invited them over, it has to be something a little bit special.” And so I variously groaned, threw my hands in the air and wrinkled my nose distastefully at their suggestions. Until, that is, M suggested pasta. “Pasta,” he said, with the gesture of an 80 year old Italian papa “is so simple, but the fresh stuff? Ah! You can make a person very very happy with that”.

To be truthful, he had originally suggested a big bowl of pasta followed by a plate with meat on it (veal scallopini to be precise), but I’d already decided on a cold vege platter and didn’t want too many leftovers. We were, after all, hopping on a plane the next day.

So we picked up some mussels from the markets, collected a bunch of parsley and found a leek and a bottle of white in the fridge. The day before, I rolled out my tried & tested pasta recipe and flung it over a cake cooling tray to dry out overnight. And as the door bell rang, I fired up the wok in my oh-so-unflattering plastic kitchen apron and had a lovely made-from-scratch lunch for five on the table in 10 minutes flat. Oh-so-Martha! (Sans ankle bracelet of course.)

mussel & leek pasta

you will need:

16-20 green lipped mussels
1/2 a bunch of parsley (about 3/4 cup loosely packed & chopped finely)
1/2 C chicken stock
1 C good white wine
1x pasta recipe (ie 3 eggs + 300g plain flour + lemon rind)

the ingredients

the ingredients

step one:

Grab your ingredients from the fridge. Ignore the cream, I was going to use it just so I’d be rid of it, but realised it would ruin the lovely clean, sweet and sea-like flavours of the dish. So I didn’t.

step two:

Clean your mussels a touch. Pull their beards off with a firm yank, and let them sit in a bowl of water. Swish them around to make sure the dirt and grit falls out of the shells. These bits are not so tasty.

step three:

Chop your leek up into fine circles (cut off the root before you do this and only chop up the the beginning of the green leaves. They are also not so tasty and are a bit hard to chew besides). While you’re at it, chop your garlic up into a fine dice and your parsley into even finer bits. The best way to do both is to roll your knife through them, gather, and roll again.

the mussells

the mussels

step four:

Set your water to boil for the pasta, pile your chopped goodies on a plate, drain your mussels, pour yourself a glass of wine and wait for the doorbell to ring.

step five:

Ding dong! It’s showtime! Wok on. A splash of oil then the garlic. Wait for the sizzle, toss your leeks in and, stirring, let them just wilt. Mussels in next, accompanied by the wine (not the stuff in your glass, the other stuff) and the stock. Lid on quick smart.

step six:

Wait a minute. Then shake, shake, shake. Wait a minute more, repeat. one more minute then lift the lid to beautifully cooked mussels. Grab a pair of tongs and fish them out of the broth to sit on a plate. They’ll keep cooking in their own juices so don’t you worry.

the pasta

the pasta

step seven:

Now pasta in the boiling water. Two batches if your pot isn’t so big. Thirty seconds and it should be done. Once it’s cooked, straight into the wok where the lovely mussely-winey-stocky broth is reducing down.

step eight:

Second batch of pasta done & into the wok? Fantastic! Toss your parsley in and stir, stir, stir again until you see lovely flecks of green scattered throughout your dish. Tip the lot onto a plate, top with the mussels and serve.

step nine:

Oh! You didn’t get to finish your wine? Well, don’t you worry. This dish goes perfectly with the leftovers from the bottle you cracked open to cook with. *hic!*

et voila!

et voila!


  • #1
    July 29th, 2009

    Mm mussels and leeks sounds like a great combination that I have yet to try! A pasta dish is definitely a good choice for feeding a big group, it sound like it was pretty easy but it’s still impressive looking!

  • #2
    July 29th, 2009

    Mmmm pasta and hee hee at M being an 80 year old Italian papa

  • #3
    July 29th, 2009

    The master of pasta at it again, huh? 🙂

    This looks like it would have been a great last meal to leave the country on 🙂

  • #4
    July 29th, 2009

    @Steph: It has a really lovely sweetness to it – do try! Loving the looks-impressive-but-really-not-so-hard deal that comes with fresh made pasta 🙂

    @FFichiban: I’m probably going to get in trouble for that one… eek!

    @Simon: It’s my inevitable fall back plan. And yes, when gearing up for two weeks of various Asian foods, some pasta & a decent sandwich are a must.

Shez