- 140g spaghetti or bucatini
- 1 tbsp butter
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 1 onion, finely chopped
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 2 tsp mild curry powder
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 500g fresh mussels cleaned and checked, see tip, below left
Once regarded as the poor relation of the shellfish family because of their small size and…
- 100ml dry white wine mixed with 50ml/2fl oz water
- 4 tbsp double cream
- good handful coriander (or parsley), roughly chopped
Boil the pasta in salted water, following pack instructions. Meanwhile, heat a large, wide, lidded pan. Melt the butter and add the onion. Cover and cook on a medium heat for about 7 mins until soft and turning golden here and there. Add the curry power and garlic, and cook for 1 min more.
Turn up the heat and add the mussels to the pan. Pour in the wine (it should steam dramatically), then cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over high heat for 5 mins, shaking the pan every now and again, untll the mussels are wide open. Discard any that remain closed, then lift the mussels from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain the pasta when it’s ready.
Stir the cream into the mussel cooking liquor, then boil hard for 30 secs or so until the sauce is the consistency of single cream. If it gets too thick, add a splash of water. Taste and check the seasoning; I like this with lots of black pepper, which gives heat, instead of using chilli. Return the mussels to the pan, add the coriander and the pasta, and toss well. Serve in large shallow bowls, with a bowl for discarded shells.
Buying and preparing mussels
I like to choose mid-size mussels – so not too big or too small – and without too many barnacles, as they all need scraping off. They tend to smell of seaweed – or, in my mind, rock pools – but anything more than that, steer clear.Keep mussels at the bottom of the fridge in a bowl, unwrapped from plastic bags but covered with damp kitchen paper. Wash in cold water, pull away any weedy beards, then tap sharply on the countertop. Keep mussels that close, discard any that don’t. When cooked, throw away any that have not opened.