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Mussels in a Saffron Cream Spaghetti Sauce paired with a Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine 'sur lie' Wine

A saffron cream sauce with mussels and spaghetti paired with a Muscadet 'sur lie' wine! It doesn't get much better than this!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: muscadet, mussels, saffron, spaghetti
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 kg fresh mussels in their shells
  • 3.5 Litres boiling salted water
  • 500 grams dried spaghetti fresh works too!
  • 60 grams unsalted butter
  • 75 grams chopped shallots
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic about 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 handful freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/8 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • 200 ml dry white wine Muscadet, Chablis or Riesling separate into 150ml and 50ml
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 150 ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Wine Pairing

  • Pair with a glass of Muscadet (sur lie) wine

Instructions

Boiling the Spaghetti

  • Begin by pouring 3.5 Litres of salted water into a large stock pot and bring to a boil. 
  • Meanwhile, clean the mussels while you're waiting for the water to boil. 

Scrubbing the Mussels

  • The first thing to do once you're ready to cook your mussels is to clean them in cold water with a scrub pad.  Gently scrub on the outside of the shells to remove any barnacles and the little hairy bearded bits called 'byssus'.  
  • Discard any mussels that are broken or don't close when pressure is gently applied. 
  • Set the mussels aside in a separate dish.

Slicing and Dicing

  • Before cooking the spaghetti, you will need to prepare your vegetables because the sauce and mussels cook quickly. Everything needs to be ready to go! 
  • Chop the shallots, garlic and parsley. Set aside.
  • Have your remaining ingredients measured and ready to go.

Cooking the Spaghetti

  • Add the spaghetti to the boiling salted water and cook for 8 minutes until al dente.  

Cooking the Mussels

  • Add the unsalted butter to another pot (I used my Dutch oven!).  Melt the butter over medium heat and add the shallots.  Sauté the shallots for 2 minutes 
  • Then add the finely chopped garlic. Continue to sauté for 2 more minutes and then sprinkle in the dried red chilli flakes. 
  • Continue to cook for another minute before adding 150ml of the wine.  I used some of the Muscadet for this recipe, but you can also use another dry, crisp white wine such as Riesling or Chablis.  Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Once the wine has been added and the mixture is boiling, quickly and carefully add the washed mussels.  Lift them out of the bowl with a large slotted serving spoon so any grit or sand is left behind.
  • Immediately cover the pot with a lid and boil the mussels for 1 minute.
  • After a minute, remove the lid. The shells should have opened and you will see the beautiful mussels inside.  Discard any mussels that haven't opened after cooking.  
  • Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon from the cooking liquid and place in a bowl.   Set them aside for a few minutes.  You will add them later.  

Cooking the Saffron Cream Sauce

  • Add about a teaspoon (large pinch) of saffron threads to the left-over liquid from boiling the mussels and over medium-high heat and bring to a gentle simmer for about a minute.
  • Once simmering, add the double cream and stir all the ingredients together over medium heat.  You don't want this to reach a hard boil, as the cream will separate.  
  • Now, add the remaining 50ml of dry white wine, freshly chopped parsley, salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Mix together and cook over medium heat for another minute or two.  
  • By this point the spaghetti should be finished cooking.  Drain it in a colander.  Shake the excess water out, as you don't want your cream sauce to be too watery.  
  • Add the spaghetti to your saffron cream sauce and mix together. Then cover the spaghetti and sauce with the cooked mussels.  
  • Finally, gently combine the mussels with the saffron spaghetti cream sauce and season with more salt, pepper and freshly chopped parsley.

Serving

  • Enjoy while warm with crusty, buttery garlic bread.

Wine Pairing

  • Serve with a glass of Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine 'sur lie' wine.