Italian Mussels & Pasta
This combination of mussels with plenty of garlic, parsley, saffron and white wine was inspired by the Venetian soup zuppa de peoci, which is usually ladled over sliced crusty bread. Here we serve it over pasta. For a more elegant presentation you can remove the mussels from their shells before serving…but then again, who wants to be elegant? Enjoy!
Note: The dried stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron adds flavor and golden color to a variety of Middle Eastern, African and European foods. Soak it in a little water, wine or broth for about 30 minutes before adding to a dish to help release its delicious flavor. Find it in the spice section of supermarkets, gourmet shops or at tienda.com. It will keep in an airtight container for several years.
Tips: To clean mussels, rinse very well under cold running water and use a stiff brush to remove any barnacles or grit from the shell. Discard any mussels with broken shells or any whose shells remain open after you tap them lightly. Pull off any fibrous “beard” that might be pinched between the shells; the “beards” of most cultivated mussels are already removed.
A microplane grater is a great kitchen gadget that seems to be tailor-made for grating citrus zest. It was originally designed to function as a woodworking tool (called a carpenter's rasp). Its razor-sharp edges shave off the zest effortlessly and make it easier to leave the bitter white pith on the fruit. It's the right tool when you want fluffy, very fine citrus zest. Traditional kitchen graters can be used for zesting citrus, too, but they have a tendency to rip and shred the zest, giving a somewhat more clumpy, wet result.
3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 1/2 lean meat, 3 fat