Creamy Saffron Pasta with Mussels and Spinach
- 2 pounds mussels
- 1 pound casarecce pasta
- 4 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 large shallots, sliced (or 3 small shallots)
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup organic low-sodium chicken stock
- 3/4 teaspoon saffron
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Place the mussels in a large bowl full of water and ice. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, and let the mussels sit for 1 hour. They will spit out any sand. Rinse the mussels, pull of any beards your fish-seller may have overlooked, and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it well. Boil the pasta to al dente, adding the spinach at the last second, then drain.
- Meanwhile, in a wide braising pan, heat the oil and butter on medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Sweat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until shallots are soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the white wine, and simmer for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and saffron, cover and turn the heat to high, and bring the liquid to a boil.
- Add mussels to the pot, and lower the heat to medium. Cover, and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, or until all mussels have opened. Take the pan off the heat, and stir in cream. Add in drained pasta and spinach, and return to low heat, stirring for 1 minute, until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce and color of the saffron. Serve immediately.
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