Di­tal­ini pasta with mus­sels and beans

House Beautiful (UK) - - FEAST ITALIAN -

This is a de­li­cious, hearty com­bi­na­tion of plump mus­sels and earthy, creamy legumes in a flavour­ful broth.

The sauce makes this some­thing half­way be­tween a pasta dish and a soup, and it’s always served with a spoon. You can use can­nellini beans in­stead of bor­lotti beans, or even pota­toes, peeled, diced into 1cm cubes and boiled with the pasta.


1kg live mus­sels in their shells, beards and any ex­te­rior grit re­moved 240g di­tal­ini pasta (or any other very small soup pasta) 2tbsp ex­tra vir­gin olive oil,

plus ex­tra for driz­zling 1 gar­lic clove, finely chopped ½ onion, thinly sliced

125ml dry white wine

1 large ripe tomato, diced 200g cooked bor­lotti beans,


Salt and ground pep­per

1 hot red chilli, finely

chopped (op­tional)

Hand­ful of flat-leaf pars­ley

leaves, finely chopped

1 Check over the mus­sels and dis­card any that are cracked or open. Clean well in fresh wa­ter and, if nec­es­sary, scrub with steel wool. To cook the mus­sels, heat them in a wide, shal­low, dry fry­ing pan over a medium-high heat. Cover, shaking the pan oc­ca­sion­ally. Af­ter about 1-2min, re­move from the heat and then trans­fer to a large bowl (dis­card any that are still tightly shut).

2 Strain the pre­cious mus­sel liq­uid left in the pan – ei­ther us­ing a very fine-mesh sieve or a reg­u­lar sieve lined with a paper towel – into a bowl. Pull out the meat from the shells (re­serv­ing some whole mus­sels to gar­nish), dis­card­ing the shells.

3 In the mean­time, bring a large pot of salted wa­ter to the boil and cook the pasta ac­cord­ing to the in­struc­tions on the packet (mi­nus 1min of cook­ing time).

4 Heat the olive oil in a wide fry­ing pan over a low heat and gen­tly fry the gar­lic and onion for about 5min, un­til the gar­lic is fra­grant and siz­zling but not coloured. Pour in the wine and in­crease the heat to medium. Add the tomato and sim­mer for a fur­ther 5min.

5 Add the beans, the mus­sel meat and liq­uid and taste for sea­son­ing (it is im­por­tant to do this af­ter you add the liq­uid from the mus­sels as it can be quite salty). Add the chilli, if us­ing, and some freshly ground black pep­per. Bring to a sim­mer and cook for 2min, then scat­ter over the pars­ley as you take it off the heat.

6 Drain the pasta (re­serv­ing some of the cook­ing liq­uid if you feel you didn’t have enough mus­sel cook­ing liq­uid) and serve with the rather soupy sauce (add a splash of the pasta cook­ing liq­uid if nec­es­sary) of mus­sels and beans and a driz­zle of olive oil.

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