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Mussels with Angel Hair Pasta for Under $10

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ml Food Expert Susannah Locketti: Here is a great recipe to make use of that remaining cup of white wine in the bottle or the last beer nobody drank from your weekend gathering. To save time, I've used farm-raised mussels, which are kitchen-ready and just need a quick rinse. Angel hair pasta boils up in under five minutes, and the intense flavors of garlic and sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil pulls the dish together fast without wallet worry. Make this dish during the week, or impress your friends over the weekend in about the same time it takes to fold a big basket of laundry!

angel hair pasta with mussels

Angel Hair Pasta with Mussels, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Garlic
Recipe courtesy of Susannah Locketti

1 lb. box angel hair pasta (boils in 3 to 5 minutes)
1 lb. farm-raised mussels, rinsed
1 jar julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
4 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 cup white wine, beer or broth (whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

While the pasta water is coming to a boil, rinse the mussels, chop the garlic and parsley and set all three aside. Put the pasta in the boiling water and stir thoroughly to prevent sticking. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Take 3 tbsp. of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and add it to the skillet. Add the chopped garlic and 1/4 cup of the sliced sun-dried tomatoes. Sauté for about two minutes, or until the garlic is translucent but not browned. Then add one cup of wine, beer or broth. When the wine is hot, add the mussels and seal the pan with a lid. Steam just until the mussels open (a couple of minutes), discarding any mussels that remain closed. Drain the pasta and serve the mussel mixture over the angel hair pasta. Garnish with the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Susannah's Money- and Time-Saving Sense:
I inventoried my fridge before shopping and found about a cup of leftover wine from an event. This not only saved me money, but it allowed no waste while adding sophistication to this dish. I always recommend scouring your pantry before going to the grocery store, so you can make use of any leftover ingredients you have on hand that can serve as an inspiration for a new dish.

I used farm-raised mussels, which are essentially kitchen-ready and only require a rinse. Ocean mussels require scrubbing and removal of the beards, which adds on time. Angel hair pasta cooks up in just a few minutes and times out well with the cooking of the mussels. Overcooked mussels are rubbery; timing them right keeps them luscious and tender. Mussels are generally an inexpensive choice at the seafood counter as well.

The sun-dried tomatoes are my luxury ingredient in this dish, but I was able to use the oil from the jar to add a deeper flavor than standard olive oil. I only used about a third of the jar, so you could easily stretch your dollar and get two other dishes out of this ingredient.

Flat-leaf parsley was on sale for under a dollar, and plenty was left over for recipes throughout the week. The color and fresh flavor make this dish look far more expensive than it really is! I love to garnish dinner with fresh herbs to instantly upscale it. Either grow herbs in sunny windows or buy them on sale when the price is right.

I saved loads of time chopping the garlic by using a quick hand-chopper instead of a chef's knife. This is a job you can safely delegate to the kids to save even more time!

Pantry +'s:
Dried red pepper flakes would be great in this if you have them on hand. Simply add 1/2 tsp. to the oil at the beginning of the recipe.

Feel free to add a few tbsp. of butter in addition to the oil for a richer-tasting dish.

Cost Breakdown:

Pasta -- $ .80 (on sale using my store card)
Mussels -- $2.75 (clerk gave me slightly less than a pound)
Sun-dried tomatoes -- $4.49
Garlic -- $ .49
Wine -- Free (on hand)
Parsley -- $ .99

Total: $9.52

© 2010 by Susannah Locketti

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