Linguine with Mussels and Bacon

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This was an interesting dish. Julia (I’ll just start calling my roommate by her name because we cook everything together and she seems to be a recurring character on this blog) and I had leftover mussels from the paella we made a few weeks ago. Google told us we could freeze them alive and be able to use them later, so we did. We decided to make a white wine and spicy red sauce mussel pasta using a slightly modified version of this recipe. I’ll start by talking about the pasta and then address the problem with freezing mussels while they’re alive.

First we cooked bacon and shallots in butter until the bacon started to brown. Then we added white wine and probably quadruple the amount of crushed red pepper flakes that the recipe called for. Once the wine reduced we added a can of crushed tomatoes and let that cook with the wine for about ten minutes. Meanwhile, we cooked linguine in a separate pot until it was al dente. Once the tomatoes had reduced we added in the mussels. We were supposed to wait until they opened, but since they were already dead having been frozen for 2 weeks, some were already open and some never opened. We took them out of the sauce after about 7 minutes and got rid of the ones that didn’t open at all. Next we added pasta to the sauce and mixed in garlic, salt, pepper, and fresh parsley. We put that in a bowl and topped with freshly grated parmesan and then placed the mussels around the perimeter of the dish.

When we went to try and eat them, the mussels weren’t open as much as they should have been and after forcing one open, it looked the way they do when they’re alive (although I’m sure it wasn’t), so we decided not to eat them. This dish would have been amazing had we actually used fresh mussels, so maybe I’ll try this again sometime. And actually, the pasta on its own was unbelievable. As I already mentioned, I went a little crazy with the crushed red pepper to the point where it was almost a pasta arrabbiata (super spicy red sauce). I love spicy though and it was the perfect amount to the point where you could still actually eat the dish, but it was more than just a slight kick. Also the fresh parsley was beautiful and added a nice element of freshness in this dish.

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