As mussels are one of the “Best Choice” seafoods (check out seafoodwatch.org) and reasonably inexpensive, I offer this simple and delicious version of spaghetti. They are farmed around the world but don’t get antibiotics and other bad things. Not that I wouldn’t eat spaghetti with meatballs, but this one is really good and environmentally friendly.
1 pound mussels, debearded and scrubbed of the little barnacle things
1 big bunch basil
1 clove garlic
1 Tablespoon pine nuts, toasted in a skillet
1 Tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Splash of dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
Bring a pasta pot of water to a boil.
It may be easier to quadruple the pesto recipe so you can actually do it in a regular size food processor. You can freeze the leftovers. This small amount is easier in a mini-prep processor (I got one for a gift once and use it a lot). You can also just mush the ingredients using a mortar and pestle.
Process the basil leaves and garlic. Add the pine nuts and cheese. Process some more. Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and process. Season to taste. Set aside.
Heat a skillet for about three minutes over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss in the mussels. They will sizzle. Add a big splash of white wine and cover. Cook for about three minutes. Stir the mussels so the ones not as open get to the bottom of the pan (this is theoretical --- they all looked pretty much alike so I just stirred them). Recover and cook until they are all open, about another three minutes. Drain the mussels in a colander being careful to catch the juice in a bowl underneath.
Cook the spaghetti per the instructions, drain, and divide it into warm bowls. Thin out the pesto with some of the mussel juice. Mix the pesto, mussels, and spaghetti. Serve with a big green salad.