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Orecchiette with Mussels & Mint

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Serves four.

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.

  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1 recipe orecchiette
  • 12 to 16 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped

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):
Calories (kcal): 480; Fat (g): fat g 13; Fat Calories (kcal): 120; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 7; Protein (g): protein g 17; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 71; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 670; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 55; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Brian Hagiwara

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