This somewhat startling coupling of seafood and mint makes sense against a background of supportive, plain pasta. The orecchiette absorbs the cream in this unusual sauce mixing mint and mussels. The result is a luscious texture and a completely infused flavor.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and orecchiette and cook until done, about 8 min. for freshly made or about 20 minutes for dried.
Put the mussels in a large frying pan with the wine. Cover and bring to a boil. Steam over medium heat until all the mussels have opened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon. Strain the mussel broth through a coffee filter or a double layer of cheesecloth and return it to the frying pan. Add the zucchini, cover, bring to a boil, and steam until cooked but not mushy, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the mussels from their shells and set aside. When the zucchini are cooked, add the mussel meats and the cream; simmer until the liquid is thickened and reduced, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss the cooked orecchiette in the cream sauce over the heat until most of the cream is absorbed, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with the mint and serve immediately.
nutrition information (per serving):
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Photo: Brian Hagiwara