|CLASSIC pasta||tagliatelle with mussels and tarragon|
We are always looking for a pasta dish with fresh seafood. Finding one that uses mussels is even more difficult. So herewith: a fresh egg pasta, with mussels, and with an anise flavor. Simple and beautiful and tasty.
This recipe is adapted from a lovely article in Food and Wine that featured not only the pasta dish but the beautiful celadon-glazed porcelain bowls (as shown).
We should note that perhaps Pernod is not the most Italian of flavorings, but what works, works. For another dish with Pernod see veal stew with fennel and tomatoes.
Note: we do not use a full pound of pasta for a four-person serving. We found the smaller portion is a proper balance.
for the sauce:
for the pasta:
In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil and the garlic. After fifteen seconds, add the onion. Cook until softened, about five minutes.
Add the sprigs of thyme, the wine and the Pernod. Add the mussels, cover and cook until they are all open. (Check under the lid regularly to make sure -- should be about five minutes). When the mussels are all open (or almost all: one could always have a non-opener in the mix that simply refuses), transfer the mussels to a bowl. Throw away the non-openers.
Boil the remaining liquid to reduce it by almost half. Add the cream and cook over a low heat until it reduces about half. Toss out the thyme; add the mussels (gently) along with their juices and the chopped tarragon. Add a half teaspoon of salt and a few twists of the pepper mill. Stir again -- gently.
Get five quarts of water up to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt. Add the tagliatelle.. Cook until al dente. Then drain. A little moisture will not hurt..
Add the tagliatelle to the heated sauce. Toss so that the pasta is well-coated. Serve with tarragon leaves as garnish (preferably in beautiful white bowls as shown).