Recipe: Linguini with mussels, tomato & creme fraiche

Fresh seafood is a treat for us in Rutherglen – the one gift we welcome in the dear arms of visiting friends from Melbourne when they buzz up the Hume Highway. On arrival the vino starts flowing - often a rosé - which works equally well with old friendships as it does shellfish cooked simply.

We love the simplicity of this quick pasta with mussels. Serve with ample Scion Rosé 2017.

Mussels

Linguini with mussels, tomato & creme fraiche
Serves 4

Ingredients

1.5kg mussels, scrubbed & de-bearded
500g packet of linguini (use as much as you would normally cook to serve 4) 
1 cup dry white wine or rosé
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp garlic, finely chopped (or a couple of shallots)
400g can diced tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup creme fraiche
1/3 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
sea salt & black pepper

Method

Rinse the mussels in cool water and discard any with cracked shells. Firmly tap several times on the shells of any open mussels. If they close even a little, they are still alive and can be cooked. If not, discard them.

Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water until just al dente, for 1 minute less than the instructions on the packet.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy-based pot, bring the wine to a rolling boil. Add the mussels, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over high heat until the mussels open (around 3 – 4 minutes), shaking the pot a few times. With a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a large bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Strain the mussel juice (avoiding any sediment in the bottom).

Combine oil and garlic in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until garlic turns a pale golden colour. Add tomatoes and stir, then add the strained mussel juice, increase heat and cook until reduced by half.

Stir in the creme fraiche, return to heat and simmer for 1 minute. Season to taste.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss until heated through. Fold through the parsley, divide the pasta among bowls and top with the mussels.

Tips

  • Contrary to popular belief, unopened mussels can be prised opened with a paring knife and eaten if most of the other mussels have opened in the pot. Don’t discard them as they are perfectly good to eat!
  • A few slices of free-range bacon make a delicious addition – dice and add to the pan along with the garlic.