Imagine you needed to bring
to your table, a taste of the spring
what would you favour, to give you that flavour?
A lemony pasta dish thing?
My boyfriend said loudly “hear hear,
now, that is a cracking idea”
I listed the items I’d buy to delight ’em
and he nodded, saying “don’t forget beer”
I returned from the hustle and bustle
with parsley and lemon and mussels,
this wouldn’t take long, if it didn’t go wrong,
and with any luck, won’t be a fussle.
After we put on the pasta,
(the sauce wouldn’t take long to master)
I heated some butter – oh, lots – did I stutter?
and fried garlic and cherry tomata
When everything’s just turning brown,
it’s time to take lemon to town
The juice and the zest make the flavour the best
now add salt and you’ll have this thing down
I implore all my readers: don’t judge,
I am poor and you mustn’t begrudge
that my mussels came pre cleaned, and pre washed, and pre-steamed:
they arrived in a wine and cream sludge.
I emptied this packet, I did
to my pan, and I put on a lid
with a little good shuggling, and some chilli, a smugeling,
All will be just perfect, kids.
When the pasta was touching al dente
And the light sauce was bubbling plenty
I stirred in the linguine to make it all creamy
and chopped parsley so fine it went scenty
Once all the parsley was scattered
only the serving now mattered
I spooned onto plates (not bowls; please no hate)
and squeezed over more lemon, a smatter
When the boyfriend and I did tuck in,
Our faces transformed into grins
“this mussel linguine is the best that I’ve seenie”
beamed my partner, with sauce down his chin
All those keen chefs who just want to know
The recipe’s in full below
It’s really quite hard; to cook, and to bard
So I’ll see myself out – yes – I’ll go.
Mussel, Tomato and Lemon Linguine – serves 2 hungry people
1 packet of refrigerated vacuum packed mussels in white wine sauce (they’re really cheap at Lidl)
Around a mug full of cherry tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic
A couple of tablespoons of either butter or good olive oil
Zest and juice of a large lemon
A teaspoon of chilli flakes
An actual whole bunch/packet of fresh parsley (loads)
salt & pepper
Some linguine/spaghetti (enough)
Start cooking your pasta in lots of SALTED water. It seasons the pasta from the inside out and makes it better in every conceivable manner.
Chop your cherry tomatoes in half, and your garlic into very small pieces (don’t crush or make the garlic into a paste).
Melt the butter or heat the oil in the largest frying pan you have, and add in the cherry tomatoes, garlic and a little pinch of salt. Fry everything very gently, until just colouring. When it’s got a little bit of brown on it, add in the lemon zest and some black pepper. Add half of the lemon juice and let everything get to know each other a wee bit. Add the chilli flakes. Then, tear open the mussels and empty them straight into the pan and mix all the juices together – it should go a pale pinkish colour from mixing with the tomatoes. Add nearly the rest of the lemon juice, reserving a tiny bit for the end. Shuggle it about a bit and pop the lid on and leave it on medium for 5 minutes til the mussels heat through.
Your pasta should be near enough done by now. To make it absolutely perfect, you want to take it out just as it’s on the verge of al dente, because when you stir it through the mussels, it’ll finish cooking and soak up some of the lovely zesty sauce. We didn’t bother draining it, and just spooned it with a pasta server into the sauce – this had the added advantage of taking some of the starchy pasta water with it, which thickens the sauce slightly. If you’re normal and have a colander, just remember to add a tablespoon or so of pasta water to the sauce before you drain the pasta and mix it in.
Make sure your parsley is chopped very finely and stir it through the pasta. The only reason I didn’t use bowls is that I was at L’s place and his bowls aren’t big enough – if you have pasta bowls, do use them. Scatter over a wee bit of the parsley which will have inevitably clung to the chopping board, add a final squeeze of lemon and serve with a bowl for the shells.
Adding raw king prawns after the tomatoes and garlic would take this up a notch further. Obviously you can add whatever else you like, but it’s quite italian not to have too much stuff in a sauce. But after all, I’m not Gino Di Accampo so I can’t judge you really.