Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spaghetti with Mushroom-Mussel Sauce

This pasta recipe was to use up our leftovers from the Mussels with Tomato-Ouzo Sauce. It was so good, I'd love to make it again. But it really does need to be made with leftovers, because the sauce comes from the broth the mussels make while they cook.

Cook pasta according to package directions. I used whole wheat spaghetti. Drain the mussels from the leftover broth. Remove the mussels from their shells and set aside. Stir a bit of flour into the broth (while it is still cold.) I used about 2 teaspoons - use 1 tablespoon flour for 1 cup of liquid. 

In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 - 1/3 cup cream to simmer. Stir in broth-flour mixture and simmer until thickened. If desired, thin with a bit of chicken broth or pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, slice about 6 mushrooms. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a wok-type pan and add mushrooms and mussels. Stir frequently over medium heat until mushrooms release their juices and mussels are heated through. Add drained pasta, and sauce, and stir to coat evenly.

I served this with a side of Romanesco broccoli in browned butter with crispy shallots. If you've never had it before, to me it is indistinguishable from cauliflower in taste, but it is such a gorgeous piece of art in nature. It is math and fractals and geometry. It is little christmas trees bound into a bouquet.

Romanesco Broccoli with Crispy Shallots
serves 4 as a side
1 head romanesco broccoli
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
half a shallot, thinly sliced

Heat the oil in a small saucepan to about 220 degrees. Fry the shallot in the oil (make sure there is enough oil to fully cover all the shallots) until they are crispy and golden, about 6-8 minutes. Drain the shallots on paper towels and discard the remaining oil.

Meanwhile, divide the romanesco into florets. I also chopped the stem and the leaves around the stem. Steam all the pieces together, about 6 minutes.

In a 10" pan, melt the butter over low and cook until the solids separate and start to brown but not burn. Toss romanesco in browned butter and increase heat to medium high, stirring frequently until vegetables start to char slightly, 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and sprinkle with crispy shallots to serve.

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