7.06.2006

This Post Is For Sara

Sara was so thrilled upon seeing the words New Zealand on this blog, that I simply had to dedicate this one to her. Sara, lucky girl, has actually been to NZ, lived there, gone to school there, and enjoyed the country live and in person. I've never been, though I've seen all three Lord of the Rings movies, which probably does not count for much of anything except give me a vague idea of the country's beautiful scenery. Right now I'm enjoying New Zealand from afar and their green-lip mussel exportation above anything else, and consequently am earmarking any mussel recipe I can find. This caught my eye as I've got a lovely little basil plant from the farmer's market that has somehow survived my plant ineptitude and I can't resist its siren song to be used. The truffle butter was thrown in on the realization that the only other butter was in the freezer, and I haven't touched it in a while. The boss brought it back as a souvenir of Paris (again, I've never been) and it is so rich, so tasty, so utterly expensive sounding that I can only bring myself to use it sparingly. You needn't go to that extent, but darn, it's a splendid addition.
The cream sauce makes enough for two generous pasta servings, I think, so you could simply double the mussels and have dinner for two. If you're not into that, simply split the pasta in portions as you please. Eat one with the mussels fresh and hot and refrigerate the rest. If you reheat the pasta in a saucepot with a dash more liquid (cream, milk, wine, broth, whatever) and toss in a half can or so diced tomatoes and juices, it makes a good quick-and-dirty blush cream sauce - actually, I'd probably make it again just like that.

MUSSELS WITH BASIL CREAM SAUCE
adapted from Gourmet, June 2004

1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 small garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp truffle butter
1 Tbsp margarine
1/3 c plus 1 Tbsp white wine
1/2 c heavy cream
15 to 20 small to medium size fresh basil leaves, shredded or cut chiffonade
8 frozen New Zealand mussels on the half-shell
3/4 c or so frozen peas
grated Parmesan
salt and black pepper to taste
hot cooked angel hair pasta

In a saucepan, melt together the truffle butter and margarine over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1/3 c white wine and the 1/2 c heavy cream to the saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Add the mussels, stir, and cover. Let cook about 4-5 minutes or until mussels are warmed through.
Meanwhile, place the peas in a small bowl, add the 1 Tbsp wine, and microwave about 3 minutes until cooked through. Have the pasta ready in a large bowl.
When the mussels are done, remove them with a slotted spoon to another bowl. Pour the cream sauce over the hot pasta and add the peas. Add the chiffonade of basil leaves, a large pinch or two of Parmesan and a generous amount of cracked black pepper. Toss gently to combine and correct taste with salt and pepper if need be.
Reserve half the pasta for leftovers in a separate bowl. Take the other half and add the mussels, stirring gently to coat with sauce. Serve hot, garnished with basil.
Yield: one serving mussels, two servings pasta.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Ivonne said...

Hi Emily,

Wow, that dish looks fantastic. I love mussels but have never thought to prepare them with basil. What a wonderful idea!

Thanks for visiting my blog. I've added you to my bloglines account so that I can keep track of you.

You're a lovely writer and you have some beautiful photos! Keep up the great blogging!

11:03 PM  
Blogger emily said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, Ivonne.
I'll be certain to let you know if I get to that cherry tiramisu version.

6:00 PM  

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