This is an elegant, gourmet dish which is surprisingly easy to prepare. Using fresh mussels (and fresh shrimp if possible) adds to the gourmet style of this meal, and you can have it on the table in as few as 35 minutes from start to finish. The key to speedy preparation is cooking the spaghetti at the same time you cook the onion and garlic.
Have the mussels soaking in cold water at the same time, and you will be able to add them as soon as the onion and garlic are soft, along with the other ingredients in the dish. Fresh mussels are always special and they are incredibly easy to prepare as well. Simply soak them in cold water for 20 minutes to expel any grit, then add them to a pan and let them steam. The heat will cook them and the shells will open, so you can see when they are done.
Leave the tails on the shrimp if you like, or remove them if you prefer. As well as the spaghetti and seafood, we are using onion, garlic, lemon, and white wine, all of which are wonderful flavors to pair with seafood. Throw in some parsley and serve parmesan (freshly grated of course!) on the side, and you will have all the wonderful flavors you need. Some people like to serve garlic bread on the side while others prefer a light side dish, perhaps some tossed baby salad leaves with vinaigrette or even steamed asparagus tips with a little melted butter.
- 2 lbs fresh mussels
- 1 lb medium shrimp
- 1 lb uncooked spaghetti
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ finely chopped yellow onion
- 6 minced garlic cloves
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 cup white wine
- Salt, to taste
- Parmesan, to serve
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
- Fresh chives, for garnish (optional)
- Discard any mussels which do not open when tapped.
- Soak the remainder in cold water for 20 minutes, then scrub the shells to remove any barnacles or dirt.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt.
- Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, then drain.
- While the spaghetti is cooking, melt the butter and olive oil in a pot over a low-medium heat.
- Add the garlic and onion and cook for 3 minutes.
- Peel and devein the shrimp but leave the tails on.
- Add the lemon, wine, shrimp and mussels to the pot.
- Stir, cover the pot and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the mussels are open.
- Gently shake the pot every couple of minutes.
- Discard any mussels that did not open.
- Add the cooked spaghetti and parsley to the pot and toss gently.
- Serve right away with parmesan on the side.
- You can garnish each plate with some fresh chives if liked.
Few dishes are as classy as seafood, and the real joy of this recipe is how simple it is to put together. The delicate flavors of shrimp and mussels pair with the bright acidity of lemon, some white wine, parsley, parmesan and garlic, and the results are spectacular. Feel free to swap the spaghetti for linguine or any other kind of pasta you want to use, and omit the white wine if you do not want to use it. It is best to use fresh seafood and fresh lemon juice if possible, for the very best result. This dish is certainly worth considering if you want to serve impressive dinner party fare, and leaving the mussels in their shells and the tails on the shrimp adds to the exquisite presentation.
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