This dish is simple, elegant and delicious. Mussels are quickly steamed in a spicy garlic white wine sauce and served with angel hair pasta for the perfect finish.
Do you ever look around you and wonder how anyone ever keeps up with it all? I’ve come to the conclusion that they just don’t. It’s truly not possible for me to accomplish everything in one day that I want to accomplish. Type A? Check. Check. Check.
Keeping myself and my aspirations in check is the bigger issue. But let’s talk about food shall we?
Mussels. They illicit more “eww’s” and “uh-uh’s” from my family and extended family than most things so (naturally) I decided that it was an adventure bite that had to be mastered. Thus I force fed them to my in-laws when they came to see our house once we got moved in. Grin.
The good news is after a flop of a recipe when we tried grilling them a year or so ago I decided that I should follow someone else’s recipe before I started getting jiggy with them at home. Giada to the rescue again!
I figured the gal probably knew what she was talking about and indeed these turned out amazing. My only beef is that this scrubbing mussels, removing beards (WTH?!?), boiling water, making sauce, chopping shallots, sweating, chopping parsley, slicing bread, trying to vacuum the living room before my in-laws showed up, rocking a screaming baby on my hip…..did not indeed feel like “Weeknights With Giada“. It felt like “Weeknights With A Crazy Person”. So after we smack our pretty little Italian and tell her she’s nuts for thinking an average person could make this for the first time on a weeknight, we’ll tell her that it’s a good thing she can cook.
My father-in-law ate two giant bowls of this and my 3 year old slurped up every last drop of sauce and announced that he “loves mussels mommy”. I win.
And no in case you are wondering I didn’t also photograph these that night because lets be honest here….this lady is not a super hero. And frankly….I’m starting to be okay with it.
Also if you have an excuse (and any extra braincells) you should totally grill your lemons with this dish. They’re the BOMB.
In Giada’s defense the mussels were scaring me so I checked the recipe exactly 2 billion times (and youtube of course!) and was convinced I was going to kill us all with my seafood experiments. So if you know how to cook mussels and are cool with that process or you can get pre cleaned mussels that will make this totally weeknight doable. Her book here (<—affiliate link).
Disclosure: No one has perked, paid or bribed me with brownies to write this post for ya. If you click on that affiliate link and buy anything on Amazon they give me a teeny bit of money to buy more strange things to cook for you and don’t charge you any extra. Cool beans? Awesome.
- 24-30 mussels
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 1 pound angel hair pasta (sub brown rice noodles for gluten free!)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large shallots, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- serve with: lemons (grilled preferably), crusty bread, and white wine
- Clean mussels: scrub shells with rough scrubber and remove beards by grasping beard and pulling towards you (the hinge end should be closest to you). A paper towel or regular towel can help add traction if you can't seem to keep ahold of the beards.
- Add all mussels to a bowl of cool water and sprinkle cornmeal over them. Leave for 30 minutes, changing water once if a ton of grit accumulates on bottom.
- Lift the mussels out of the water leaving the grit on the bottom of the bowl. Add to fresh water again if desired while prepping meal or cook immediately.
- For pasta:
- Boil large pot of salted water. Cook pasta al dente. Add butter and parsley and hold warm until serving.
- For mussels:
- Heat olive oil in large skillet and sauté shallots 3-4 minutes seasoning with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add wine and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add brother, red pepper flakes and mussels. Simmer for 5-8 minutes until all mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that have not opened after this time.
- Add mussels to pasta and season the pan sauce to taste. Pour sauce over mussels and pasta and serve immediately with lemons, plenty of crusty bread and a good white wine.