Tag Archives: Basil

Spicy Mussels with Capellini and Fresh Herb Pasta in White Wine Broth

Mussels

Happy Friday Y’all! As promised, here is the wonderful recipe that I am so excited to share for Spicy Mussels with Capellini and Fresh Herb Pasta in White Wine. Our family loves seafood and in my meal planning efforts, I include at least one dish that involves seafood each week. Mussels may sound expensive but they really are quite affordable. They also are an extremely sustainable food and because most are farmed, you can find them pretty much all year around.  Mussels typically take less than 8 minutes to cook which makes them even more appetizing to a busy Momma like myself.

There are a few things to remember when buying and preparing mussels. If you have never made shellfish before, I have included some links below that are great resources to read prior to getting started.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mussel#Harvest

http://localfoods.about.com/od/shellfishrecipes/tp/About-Mussels.htm

What you will need:

  • A really large skillet with high sides.
  • 2 pounds fresh mussels
  • 4 strips of Jalapeno bacon- sliced into 1/4 strips
  • 4 garlic cloves- minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Campari tomatoes- quartered
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion- diced
  • 1 cup fresh herbs chopped, basil, cilantro, oregano dill
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • salt to taste
  • 1 pound Capellini pasta
  • shredded parmesan cheese- as much as you would like
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

How to prepare the dish:

Heat the large skillet over medium heat. Add the jalapeno bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel, leaving the grease in the pan.

Sauté the onion in the bacon grease and cook until translucent. About 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the garlic and tomatoes. Cooking for 5 minutes. Stir in fennel seeds, lemon juice, pinch of salt, white wine and about a teaspoon each of the oregano and basil. Simmer lightly for 5 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering on the stove, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Capellini cooks very quickly. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot that it was cooked in. Drizzle the olive oil over the pasta and gently toss until coated. Add the remaining chopped herbs and parmesan cheese. Set to the side.

Prepare the mussels for their grand performance by washing them thoroughly with cold water and removing their “beards”. Once you have done this, they are ready for the skillet where the lovely broth awaits. Just pour them right in with the broth, cover, and allow to steam for 8 minutes.

(After this, if any mussels remain unopened, discard immediately. Do not eat them).

Serving the meal:

I like to use some great Fiesta Ware pasta bowls that we have for this because of the size. But you could use any large bowl as long as it has sides that can hold the broth.

Just put a little bit of the fresh herb pasta in the middle, surround it with mussels, and ladle the delicious white wine broth all over the top. Garnish with the reserved crispy jalapeno bacon and serve with crusty bread of your choice. A nice baguette would work beautifully. And don’t forget to serve the white wine that is remaining in that bottle along side your meal.

Basil & Pecan Pesto

Basil Pecan Pesto

My darlings, this is one of my absolute favorite things.  One of those things that makes you happy all over.  It brings a smile to my face whenever I know that super fresh basil is available so that I am able to make it.   Basil & Pecan Pesto  is a variation of plain ole pesto but with a little Texas flair.  To me, pesto is good any way you can make it.  Purple curly leaf basil is most delicious as an alternative to the traditional green basil but you will probably have to grow that yourself (not ever a bad idea) as I have not found it in any grocery store.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 4 ounce package of fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 cup or more if needed of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 lightly roasted pecans
  • 2-3 tbsp. water
  • salt & pepper to taste

Just whirl the ingredients up in your food processor and it’s like magic!  I find that the process works the best when you just put all of the ingredients into the food processor with the exception of the olive oil.  Process it for a second or two just to give it all a rough chop, then stream in the olive oil while at low speed until it is well blended.  It will be a beautiful bright green color.

This Basil & Pecan Pesto is perfect on pasta, as a sandwich spread, or an accompaniment with grilled meats like chicken or lamb.