Right after college I moved to DC. It wasn’t exactly part of the plan. The plan was to move to New York and get an apartment with two of my closest friends from college. But as often happens when one makes plans- the plans change.  For me it was a guy.  Thankfully it’s still the same guy! But yes, I moved to DC, not New York, for the guy I was seeing. I never thought I would be the kind of person to make such a major move for someone else, but truthfully, it didn’t seem like such a big deal at the time. I had gone to college in Baltimore which was only an hour away, and I already had some great friends in DC. What was so different?

It was different, and it was hard in the beginning. Even though I had great friends in DC, I had a lot of great friends in New York that I missed terribly for those four years. Though another one of the girls in the original apartment plan decide to head in another direction than NYC, too, the third was still headed there and there was always a little part of me that felt like I had let her down for not moving, too. I know, now, she doesn’t feel that way, it was just hard at the time. So even though I’m experiencing the opposite now, and missing all of the great friends I left down in DC, I’m really happy to be able to play catch up with all the ones in NYC and hopefully make up slightly for the past four years.

Instead of being four hours away I’m now a mere two blocks from the third in our apartment group. What’s better? She shares my love of cooking and the Contessa. She is the master mind behind this recipe. After a dinner feast earlier this week which resulted in way too many leftover mussels, she suggested I make a sauce to put over pasta (and share it with you all!). So make a sauce I did. Though you could make the mussels, and then make the sauce, I recommend doing what we did. Make more mussels than you can eat and then use the leftovers the next day. You’ll get two incredible meals out of one, and the flavor of the sauce will be that much richer after the mussels have rested overnight.

And with that I am off to Toronto for the weekend! Sadly it involves more work than play, but I’m hoping to take advantage of all the great food in the city while I’m there. If you have any recommendations, send them my way. Have a wonderful long weekend!

 Pasta with Mussels in White Wine adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris

  • 1 lb short cut pasta- penne, rigatoni, gemmelli, etc
  • 6 pounds mussels
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped shallots (12 to 15 shallots)
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic (6 to 8 cloves)
  • 1  14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon good saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cup good white wine
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated parmesan

Make the mussels according to the Contessa’s directions. I doubled the mussel recipe (as reflected in the ingredient list above), ate half for dinner with friends, and then used  the other half for the pasta sauce. I recommend doing that, as you really need to mussels to cool completely before you can easily remove them from their shells. Whatever amount of mussels you use- make the full amount of sauce, you’ll need it for the pasta!

After the mussels have cooled, remove them from their shells. Place the mussels and sauce in a large frying pan and place over medium low heat. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has cooked down and thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If your sauce seems thin you can add in more white wine or chicken broth.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to the package directions.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add directly to the mussels. Stir until well coated. Toss in the parmesan and stir until well combined (the sauce should have a silky sheen).  Sprinkle with additional parsley and herbs and serve immediately.


  1. Kate

    Clara! This post was so sweet. You are the best.

    We had your left over sauce for dinner also and I made some fresh pasta to go with it. Instead of using the spaghetti attachment for the pasta maker, I just used a pastry wheel to cut some free form wide strips. The simple fresh pasta with your sauce was absolutely delicious - I would even say, better than the muscles the night before.

    Thanks for feeding us this week 😉

  2. I bought a bag of Littleneck Clams the other night. Since there are more clams than my boyfriend and I could eat in one sitting I’m searching for different recipes to try my hand at. Could I substitute the mussels for clams, in this recipe? I don’t often cook with seafood, and this will be my first time with clams, so I’m not sure which tastes pair well together.

    • Clara

      Hi Lizz- you most definitely can use clams, that would be delicious!

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