Di­tal­ini pasta with mus­sels and beans

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Contents -

Emiko Davies delves into Ital­ian fam­ily recipes in her new book Tortellini at Mid­night.

“This is a hearty and al­ways sat­is­fy­ing com­bi­na­tion: plump mus­sels from Taranto’s port and earthy, creamy legumes in a flavour­ful, fra­grant broth,” says Davies. “The brothy sauce makes this some­thing half­way be­tween a pasta and a soup. In­stead of bor­lotti beans, you can also use can­nellini beans.” Pic­tured p116.

1 kg mus­sels, scrubbed and beards re­moved

100 gm di­tal­ini pasta (or other very small soup pasta) 2 tbsp ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil, plus ex­tra for driz­zling 1 gar­lic clove, finely chopped ½ onion, thinly sliced

125 ml dry white wine

1 large ripe tomato, chopped 200 gm drained canned bor­lotti beans 1 long red chilli (op­tional), finely chopped

½ cup (loosely packed) flat-leaf pars­ley, finely chopped

1 Dis­card any mus­sels that are cracked or open and won’t close when gen­tly tapped. To open the mus­sels, heat them in a wide, shal­low fry­ing pan over medium-high heat. Cover, and shake the pan oc­ca­sion­ally to help the mus­sels move around (the ones on the bot­tom will find it harder to open fully than the ones on top). Af­ter about 1-2 min­utes, check them and, with a pair of tongs, pull out the mus­sels that have opened and trans­fer these to a large bowl. Con­tinue un­til all the mus­sels have opened (any that are still tightly shut can be dis­carded). 2 Strain the mus­sel liq­uid left in the pan – either us­ing a very fine-mesh sieve or a reg­u­lar sieve lined with a paper towel and set over a bowl – and pull out the meat from the shells (re­serv­ing some whole mus­sels to gar­nish). Dis­card the shells.

3 Mean­while, bring a large pot of salted wa­ter to the boil and cook the pasta ac­cord­ing to the packet in­struc­tions, mi­nus 1 minute of cook­ing time.

4 Heat the oil in a wide fry­ing pan over low heat and fry the gar­lic and onion un­til the gar­lic is fra­grant but not coloured (about 5 min­utes). Pour in wine, in­crease the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Add the tomato and sim­mer for a fur­ther 5 min­utes (if the tomato is not very ripe, cook for 10 min­utes, and add a splash of wa­ter if the liq­uid is re­duc­ing too much).

5 Add the beans, the mus­sel meat and their liq­uid and season to taste (the mus­sel liq­uid can be quite salty). Add the chilli and some pep­per. Bring to a sim­mer and cook for 2 min­utes, then scat­ter with pars­ley.

6 Drain pasta (re­serv­ing some of the pasta wa­ter) and serve with the soupy sauce (add a splash of the pasta wa­ter if nec­es­sary) topped with the re­served whole mus­sels.

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