Angel Hair with Italian Sausage and Mussels


Angel Hair with Italian Sausage and Mussels
From Cooking Light 

When John and I first started dating we quickly discovered a mutual aversion to bivalves.  Mussels, oysters, clams – squishy, fishy, gross.  We were both exposed to them plenty since pricey business dinners were routine for our jobs, but they just couldn’t win us over.

Fast forward to today.  We order mussels every single time they appear on a menu.  We beg restaurants to make them from their dinner menu even when we’re there for lunch.  And now, we make them at home.  When I started writing this post, I thought I’d provide some cute story about what changed our mind regarding this particular bivalve, but then I realized something: I have no idea.  I honestly can’t recall what the turning point was, but about a year ago we made the mutual decision to start loving mussels.  I’m fairly certain it has something to do with French fries being their natural accompaniment, because John’s never met a French fry he didn’t like.  Or at least not one he didn’t order.  But this recipe doesn’t even have fries and it was still awesome, so the love must be genuine.  Actually, the pasta is really the best part, covered in this delectable savory sauce.  The method of sautéing the raw noodles seemed a little weird at first, but it definitely adds a layer of flavor to the dish that is definitely worth repeating.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz uncooked angel hair pasta, broken into 1 1/2-inch pieces (I would NOT recommend the fancy kind that comes in nests, as much as I love it, it breaks into really funky curly pieces that are hard to use in this dish, so just buy straight angel hair in the long box)
  • 4 oz hot Italian sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 lbs mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preparation

  1. Bring broth and thyme to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Cover and keep warm.
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add noodles to pan and cook, stirring and tossing constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Squeeze sausage from casings and saute in the Dutch oven until cooked through, using a wooden spoon to crumble.
  4. Add onion, poblano, and garlic to pan.  Saute 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add tomato, sugar, paprika and salt.  Cook 1 minute.
  6. Add wine and 1 cup of broth to pan, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release flavorful bits.  Bring broth to a boil.
  7. Add mussels to pan and cook, covered.  If making the full recipe, steam for about 3 minutes.  If making a half recipe, check around 2 minutes.  Once the majority of the mussels have opened, they are done.
  8. Transfer mussels to a bowl and keep warm.  Discard any unopened mussels.
  9. Bring broth mixture back to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by about half.
  10. Remove mixture from heat and stir in cream.
  11. Place pasta in a medium skillet.  Add 1 1/2 cups warm broth and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook 3 minutes.  Add remaining 1 1/2 cups warm broth, recover, and cook an additional 3 minutes.  Uncover and cook an additional 2 minutes, or until liquid is mostly absorbed.
  12. Plate pasta, topped with mussels and tomato broth mixture.

Serves 4.

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