Friday, 30 March 2018

Fettucine with Smoked Mussels, Broccolini and Grape Tomatoes

For Valentine's Day I made a Thai Red Curry tomato soup and garnished it with steamed mussels. On impulse I bought extra mussels, and had my husband smoke them for another time. They have been calling me from the freezer ever since.

When I made cannelloni a couple of nights ago I had extra fresh pasta, so cut it into fettuccine and dried it. These two items were the inspiration for this dish.

Instead of  using Basic Tomato Sauce for a base, I used some of the heirloom cherry and grape tomatoes I had in the fridge, and combined them with fresh parsley, garlic and capers to make a chunky, fresh tomato sauce. This requires minimal cooking...just enough to warm the tomatoes and bring out the sweetness. This was perfect with the smoky mussels.

The dish needed something green, and the half bunch of broccolini left in the fridge was perfect...cut into shorter lengths and blanched in the pasta cooking water to lessen the cooking time in the pan with the mussels.

This was easy to make, and full of bright, bold flavours and textures. The smokiness from the mussels was not too overpowering, and I managed to use up quite a few food items in one tasty meal!

In a small bowl, combine the following:

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon capers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Set aside until needed.

In a heavy bottomed pan, using a bit of olive oil, cook:

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

Cook until the onions start to soften.


Blanched broccolini, cut into 3" lengths

Cook for a couple of minutes, until the broccolini is hot and almost as tender as you like it.


1 cup smoked mussels

Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often, until the mussels are heated through, and the broccolini is tender.

As soon as the mussels and broccolini are ready, add the tomatoes, garlic, capers and herbs that you prepared earlier.


1/4 cup pasta water

Leave on the heat just enough to warm the tomatoes.

Drain the fettuccine and toss with a bit of olive oil and chopped fresh basil.

Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Portion the fettuccine into shallow bowls...

.....and divide the mussels, broccolini, tomatoes and the rest of the sauce between the bowls.

  • Smoked mussels can be bought in cans, in grocery stores or fish shops. They are usually packed in oil, and this oil can add a lot of flavour to your pasta.
  • You can also use fresh mussels; add them to the pan along with the pasta water, cover and allow them to steam open. Serve them in the shells. Place a bowl on the table for people to discard the shells.
  • Feel free to use other shellfish...scallops, clams, crab, prawns. 
  • If you do not have grape or cherry tomatoes, use ripe tomatoes, finely chopped.
  • I was originally going to use fresh basil, but felt that it might clash with the mussels. Parsley has a milder flavour, so did not compete.
  • Capers, lemon and garlic are all excellent flavour with seafood...I used a lemon infused olive oil to toss the pasta, which added another layer of flavour.
  • You can also use white wine in the sauce if you have some...I used pasta water.

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