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Holly Geraci

Mussels & Linguine


1. Mussels are tasty little shellfish. They have an elongated black shell and the inside is a mussel that holds the shell closed. The inside of the mussel is not slimy like the oyster. The mussel has an entirely different taste. As with any shellfish, it has to be alive when you cook it, unless you are buying it precooked. You can buy unshelled precooked mussels, just like crabmeat. What I like to do is find fresh mussels that are still alive, and the way you know their still alive is that the shell will, if it is open a bit, close when you tap it. So if you see a bag of mussels, and the shells are all closed, their probably still alive. If they are not still alive, the shell will be open, and will not close when you tap. Throw that sucker out. Never eat a mussel that has its shell open, if you can see it, and does not close when you tap or when you rinse it with cold water.

2. Empty your bag of mussels into a bowl of cold water, or the sink. They should be closed. Pick out any mussel that is not closed and throw it out. Take a large frying pan or saucepan the largest you have, like 12 inches. Boil angel hair spaghetti in the meantime. Add a little olive oil and salt into the water. Did I say spaghetti? I meant to say linguine! What is the difference? Linguine is flat and spaghetti is round. Linguine also tastes a little different as far as mouth feel. So, it’s linguine with clams or mussels, and it spaghetti with meatballs. Don’t ask me why, it just is.

3. While your water is boiling you can chop up some garlic and put it in the saucepan with olive oil and turn it up to high heat and then turn it off. Let the garlic cook with the fire off otherwise you’ll burn it up. Add your can of chopped tomatoes into the saucepan, and if you like onions, chop up a yellow onion before you put the sauce and sauté it with the garlic. When your water comes to a boil put in your linguine. Heat up the sauce until its boiling, put the mussels in the sauce and put a cover on the pan to let it cook in steam. Do not have your fire, under the pan, too hot or you will burn up your sauce. That is how you cook the mussels; they steam in the boiling sauce. When your linguine is ready strain, and put it on the pan with the linguine and mussels.

4. Now you have a big saucepan with tomatoes taken up the sauce. You have mussels, which are open and cooked. Add your linguine, mix it all around in the pan, put some Parmesan cheese in the pan, and serve it all as a one-dish meal. If you used a pound of linguine and 2 pounds of mussels, you have a meal for four or a meal for two with plenty leftover for lunches, or another dinner.