Equally at home as a quick weeknight dinner and as an impressive dish to serve guests, this comes together in almost as little time as it takes the pasta to boil. Things can go pretty fast here, so it’s best to have the ingredients prepped before you begin cooking.
Be sure that the mussels you purchase are alive. The shells should be closed, and if they are slightly ajar, they should respond if you tap on them. If not, they are likely dead and you don’t want to eat them. Once you have your mussels home and you are ready to cook them, place them in a large bowl of salted water (about 1 tablespoon of salt per 4 cups of water) and let them filter that water through themselves for 15 minutes or so, remove from the water and check again to make sure they are still alive, then proceed with cooking. The mussels are done cooking when the shells open.
1 lb dry linguine noodles
6 Tablespoons butter
4 medium shallots, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs mussels, scrubbed and beards removed (your fish monger will usually do this), and soaked in salted water for 15 minutes
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, then strain.
2. While the water is coming to a boil, place the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the shallots, garlic, and a few pinches of salt and cook until the shallots are translucent and starting to turn golden.
3. As the pasta is boiling and shallots are cooking, place the mussels in a pot with the white wine and bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to a simmer. After 4 or 5 minutes, start checking to see if the mussels are done (they open as they are done). As they finish, use tongs to remove them from the pot and set aside on a plate.Reserve the liquid in the bottom of the pot.
4. Once the pasta is cooked and strained, return the pasta to its pot and place the mussels in the pot with the pasta. Pour the reserved liquid from the mussels into the butter/shallot mixture and boil until reduced by 1/4. The sauce will be thin but flavorful. Season to taste with salt, if necessary, then set aside.
5. Place pasta and mussels into bowls for serving, then drizzle some of the butter sauce over it. Sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.