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Chef Jasper White's Mussels and Fettucine

The mussels can be wild or cultivated.  Be sure to check if they are alive by squeezing any that are gaping – discard if they don’t stay closed.  Gently scrub and de-beard if necessary.   Serves 4
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Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds blue mussels

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small leek, cut in 1 1/2-inch strips that are about the same width as the fettucine

Pinch of saffron threads, generous

1/2 pint small cherry tomatoes, about 1 cup

8 ounces dried fettucine  (Jasper prefers egg fettucine for this dish.)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh mint (optional)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Salt if necessary

Directions

In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine the cleaned mussels and white wine. Cover and place over medium heat.  Cook for about 8 minutes until the mussels open, or as soon as you see any steam coming from the lid, check them.  Pour off the strong broth and reserve 1/4 cup.  Save 12 of the best-looking mussels in their shells for garnish.  Pick the remaining mussels from their shells and reserve.  This step can be done well in advance.

Heat a large pot of salted water on for the pasta.

In a 9 or 10-inch sauté pan on medium heat, add the oil and garlic and cook until it begins to color.  Turn down the heat and add the leeks.  Stir the leeks until they begin to soften.  Next add the saffron and cherry tomatoes and stir over low heat for another minute.

Add the reserved mussel broth and bring to a slow boil.  As soon as it boils turn off the heat.  The mixture should have a beautiful yellow tinge from the saffron and the tomatoes should be soft.

Cook the fettucine; drain well.

Reheat the mixture with the shucked mussels and the ones for garnish right before the pasta is ready to drain.

Set aside the mussel in the shell.  Combine the pasta with the sauce and add the butter, parsley, and mint.  Toss and season with black pepper.  It is unlikely you will need salt but taste just to be sure.

This recipe comes to us from renowned chef Jasper White.

This recipe is featured on show 2821 – Cooking with the King.

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