Recipe of the Month -
coi moscioli - spaghetti
with mussels Portonovo style
Le Marche remains one of the still mainly undiscovered
regions of Italy. It’s a region that presents contrasts,
above all between the Adriatic sea and the inland hinterland.
In the gentle hills that rise from the coast and lead up to the
mountains, hearty foods contrast with the cucina di mare of the coast.
Meanwhile, back by the sea, moscioli - the local name
for mussels (cozze in Italian) - are cultivated in the
protected bay of Portonovo and harvested and served in any number
of simple trattoria, tables by the beach, the sea literally lapping
at your feet. These Adriatic mussels are outstanding, but ours
from the Exe estuary are just as tasty! So I love to recreate the
flavours of Le Marche here in Topsham, with local mussels purchased
from Derek Thorman’s fish van or from David Kerley at the
Steamed in wine and served in a light tomato
sauce over pasta, they are delicious, accompanied with a glass
or two of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi. Like the region itself,
also the name of the grape) is one of the great, undiscovered wines
of Italy, combining structure and body with clean, pure fruit flavours.
It’s no wonder that Loretello, made by our good friend Giuditta
Politi, is our favourite and best selling Vino white.
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 red chili pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tin chopped organic tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 kg live mussels
2 glasses dry white wine
1 lb spaghetti
Scrub and clean the mussels, discarding any that do not close
when given a sharp tap. Rinse well. Take about half the chopped
onion, garlic and chili and add to a pot together with the dry
white wine. Bring to the boil. Throw in the mussels, cover and
steam for 4-5 minutes, until all the mussels have opened. Set aside,
reserving the cooking liquid. When cool, remove the mussels from
their shells, reserving a dozen or so to garnish.
In a saucepan, heat the oil over a medium flame and sautee the
remaining onion, garlic and chili for 5 minutes, taking care not
to burn. Add the tinned tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper,
bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Towards the end of cooking,
add a few ladles of the mussel cooking liquid to make a thinnish
but flavourful sauce. Add the cooked mussels a few minutes before
serving and keep warm.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the spaghetti
and cook until al dente. Mix well with the tomato and mussel sauce,
and serve, garnishing each bowl with a few mussels in the shell.
Wine: Loretello Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2007 of course.
Nothing else will do!
This recipe will be on the menu at The Globe throughout February,
served together with Loretello Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi
2007. Loretello is imported direct and available exclusively