SPAGHETTI CON LE COZZE
Taken from my companion cookery book ‘Seduction of Taste’ . Spaghetti con le Cozze, is a dish eaten by the heroine of the romance novel ‘Dynasty’ – Shannon Aguerri – when she’s in Venice. Herbs and shellfish bought in the market that morning and cooked for her by a real Italian smoothie, Fabio. It’s full of taste, passion and fresh ingredients, guaranteed to stir your libido and power up your loins…..
- Scrub and rinse the mussels in cold water.
- ‘De-beard’ the mussels – remove any remnants of rope emerging from the shell.
- Drain and rinse to get rid of any sand and foreign bodies.
- VERY IMPORTANT – discard any mussels that are permanently open as these may already be dead and may give you really bad food poisoning – not worth the risk IMHO. If you can squeeze them together and they stay shut you could consider using them – sometimes putting them in water makes them open. If you squeeze and they re-open – throw them out.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil (you can add a splash of olive oil too to stop sticking).
- Add spaghetti and cook for 2 minutes less than the recommended time.
- Add half the butter and the olive oil to a large pan and over a low heat, soften the garlic and chilli.
- Turn up the heat to high, add the drained mussels and the wine. Cover immediately.
- Cook on a high heat for 5-7 minutes until the shells are opened. N.B. If any shells are now still firmly shut – discard them. (This also means they were dead before cooking = bad stomach) Remove any empty shells (sometimes the mussels fall out!)
- Drain the spaghetti.
- Add pasta to the pan with the mussel mixture and the rest of the butter. Toss well.
- Cover and leave for a minute.
- Add the lemon zest and a squeeze of juice.
- Stir the chopped parsley through the mussel-pasta mixture.
- Season with freshly ground black pepper and extra salt to taste.
Serve with a green leafy salad, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and crusty bread.
This dish also works well with clams if you can get hold of them – it is then known as Spaghetti con Vongole and is equally delicious. Substitute 500-750g of clams for the mussels.
Or for a combined experience, why not try the 2-book gourmet – ‘Dynasty Plus’ and get both books in one edition. Then you can use the live links to jump between the story and the recipes. Or when you cook the food, you can jump back in to get a feel for the romance and passion of that moment in the story!