linguine with mussels and chorizo

mussels

I had never cooked mussels at home before I made this recipe.  I honestly don’t know how it took me this long, especially since I now know how easy it is to cook them.  Something else to keep in mind: cleaning mussels is less time consuming than cleaning shrimp (or at least seemed like it to me – notes on cleaning them can be found below).  That’s always a bonus when you want to make something quick during the week.

Notes about mussels:

  1. Make sure you are buying live mussels.  Try to use mussels the same day you purchase them.
  2. The shells of live mussels should be closed.  If you find any open mussels when you are in the process of cleaning them, tap the closed shell against the counter top once or twice – if it closes, it’s still alive and kicking in there, and you can go ahead and clean it.  If it stays open, discard it.
  3. Cleaning and debearding mussels is pretty much a cinch.  Scrub the mussels with a brush (I use a vegetable brush).  Then look for the “threads” poking out between the shells.  Grasp “threads” and pull – they should release fairly easily.  Then discard the “threads” and you’re ready to clean your next mussel.

Linguine with Mussels and Chorizo

Yields 2 servings

Ingredients

4 ounces linguine, or other pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
2 ounces Spanish chorizo sausage, thinly slices, then cut in quarters
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 cup tomato, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded (about 30 mussels)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Method

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, and drain.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil and heat for 1 minute.  Add onion, red pepper, and chorizo to the skillet, sauté for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and saffron and sauté for another 4 minutes, or until the chorizo starts to brown.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook for two minutes.
  5. Add the wine, black pepper, and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat slightly, add the mussels, cover the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the mussels open.
  7. Remove from heat, discard any unopened mussels.
  8. Stir in parsley; serve over pasta (optional: serve baguette alongside, to sop up the sauce).
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