Spaghetti with Mussels in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

It’s mussel season over here in the Netherlands and I couldn’t resist getting some. I love their taste and the fact that they are cooked in no time. Add some pasta and this becomes a very filling meal. I used anchovies for the sauce and for me, that made it salty enough. So I didn’t add any extra salt, but you can always add salt later if you wish.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

2 kilos of mussels, scrubbed and beards removed

250grs of spaghetti

Chopped parsley for serving

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 small red onion, finely chopped

20grs of anchovy filets, finely chopped (use the oil too)

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of freshly chopped red chili (you can add more or less, depending on your taste)

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 cup of white wine

500ml of tomato puree

1 cup of vegetable stock

 

Rinse and scrub the mussels under cold water, pulling off any beards. Discard of any mussels that are broken or that don’t clamp shut when tapped.

In a large pan with a lid, place the olive oil plus the anchovy oil over medium-low heat. Once it’s hot, add the red onion, anchovy, oregano and chili. Let it cook for about 4 to 5 minutes till the onion becomes translucent. Don’t forget to stir.

Then add the garlic and stir. Add the white wine and let it reduce to half. Then add the tomato puree and the vegetable stock. Let it reduce until you have a creamy sauce. About 12 minutes.

Then add the mussels, give it a good stir and cover with the lid. Let it cook over medium heat until the mussels open. This will only take a couple of minutes, so keep an eye on them.

One the mussels are cooked, remove them from the sauce and set them aside (discard of any that haven’t opened). Let the sauce reduce again over medium heat.

In the meanwhile cook the pasta as instructed on the package. By the time the pasta is cooked, the sauce should have reduced enough. Add the drained cooked pasta and toss to coat. Taste for salt. I didn’t add any because the anchovy made it salty enough for me.

Serve the pasta with the mussels. Sprinkle some chopped parsley. I also served them with roasted cherry tomatoes. To roast them, just place a few vines of cherry tomatoes in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil, salt, onion and garlic powder. Roast for 20 minutes at 180C/350F. Enjoy!

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Clam Chowder Spaghetti

I love clams and I should definitely eat them more often. They are so easy and quick to cook. To keep the cooking time short for this recipe, I used fresh pasta and dried spices. So no cutting onions and garlic. You can skip on the bacon if you are vegetarian and use a bit of smoked paprika for extra flavor. Perfect comfort food for a lazy day.

Ingredients:

500grs of scrubbed cockles, clams or vongole

250grs of fresh spaghetti or the pasta of your choice

150gr of chopped bacon

200grs of crème fraiche

200ml of cream

3/4 teaspoon of onion powder

3/4 teaspoon of garlic

3/4 teaspoon of celery salt

Pinch of cayenne

Kernels of 2 corns on the cob

100grs of baby spinach

5 tablespoons of chopped chives

 

Rinse the clams under cold water for a couple of minutes. Discard of any that are open and don’t close when you tap them.

Place the chopped bacon in a large pan over medium heat. Stir from time to time until it is fully cooked. Then add the crème fraiche, cream and spices

Mix well until the crème fraiche has dissolved into a sauce.

In the meanwhile, cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

Add the corn and clams to the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid until the clams open. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Discard of any that didn’t open. Then add the spinach, cover it with a lid for 1 extra minute so that it wilts faster. Mix well and then add the cooked pasta.

Mix well so that the pasta is covered in the sauce. Taste for salt. Serve straight away and enjoy!

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Vietnamese Garlic Spaghetti Squash with Thai Chicken Meatballs

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This is my Asian version of spaghetti and meatballs. Last Saturday at the Farmer’s market, I saw spaghetti squash for the first time. I’ve seen a lot of recipes with it but I had never actually looked for it here. I had actually been looking for delicata squash but no luck so far. When I bought it, the man selling it asked me if I knew that it was spaghetti squash. I said yes with excitement. I wasn’t sure what to make with it until I remembered a recipe an American friend of mine told me a few weeks ago. She told me about a Vietnamese garlic noodles with crab recipe and it sounded so good that I wrote it down on my to-do list. Long story short, decided to make the noodles but with spaghetti squash and served them with Thai chicken meatballs.  IMG_3294

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the spaghetti squash:

1 spaghetti squash

3 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

4 tablespoons of fish sauce

Salt to taste

For the chicken meatballs:

500 grams of minced chicken

1 stalk of lemongrass, white part only, finely chopped

Pinch of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger

¼ cup of breadcrumbs

Zest of one lime

1 teaspoon of fish sauce

2 teaspoons of caster sugar

1/2 a bunch of coriander, chopped

Pinch of onion powder

½ teaspoon of salt

Pinch of pepper

Extra:

Vegetable oil to cook the meatballs

Chives for garnish

 

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Slice the squash in half. Spoon out the seeds and the stringy bits of flesh.  Place the squash with the cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Add ½ cup of water. This will help it steam. Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.  Remove it from the oven and using a fork, scrape off the flesh. Transfer it to a bowl. Set it aside.

To make the meatballs, place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix it with your hands. Then cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Once the 30 minutes are up, start shaping the meatballs. I made them small, about 22 meatballs. Once they are all done, pour about 1/3 of a cup of vegetable oil into a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, cook the meatballs until evenly browned and cooked through. This will take about 8 minutes. I cooked them in 2 batches.

To make the Vietnamese garlic sauce, add the butter and olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and brown sugar. Cook for a few minutes while stirring. You want the sugar to melt as much as possible without burning the garlic. Then add the fish sauce and some salt. Stir and add the cooked spaghetti squash. Mix it well with the sauce and taste for salt.

Serve the spaghetti squash with the meatballs and garnish with some chopped chives.

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Spaghetti Alle Vongole

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This is one of my favorite pasta dishes and an Italian classic. I hardly ever order it at a restaurant just because it takes no effort to make at home. It is prepared in about 15 minutes. By the time the pasta is cooked, the vongole is ready and you just have to combine it all.

As cravings go with me, most of the times they don’t disappear like they do for my hubby. They keep hunting me until I satisfy them. A couple of years ago, we were in Italy on holiday. On our last dinner there, I saw this dish on the menu and all of the sudden I had to have it. Unluckily for me, they were sold out! As soon as we were back home, I went to get some vongole and made the dish at home.

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I’ve been craving vongole lately so I have made this dish 3 times in the past month. If you are not familiar with cooking vongole, make sure that the shells are not open when you buy it. You’ll discard of the ones that are open, so you want to get your money’s worth. I like to squeeze some lemon juice in the end, even though it is traditionally not added. I made it last on a Saturday in which after running errands all day, I didn’t feel like spending much time cooking. It was gone in less than 5 minutes. Yes, I eat very fast!

This recipe serves 2.

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Ingredients:

500gr of Vongole

2 cloves of garlic, minced

14 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

½ bunch of parsley, chopped

250ml white wine

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

260gr of spaghetti

Chili flakes to taste

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Juice of 1 lemon (optional)

 

Rinse the vongole under cold water for a couple of minutes. Discard of any that are open and don’t close when you tap them.

Mince the garlic, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and chop the parsley.

Cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil to a large pan with a lid. Over medium heat, add the garlic and tomatoes. Cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the vongole and the white wine. Cover with the lid and let it cook till the vongole start to open, about 4 minutes. Stir. Discard of any that haven’t opened. Turn the heat off.

By this time the pasta should already be done. Add the drained pasta to the pan with the vongole. Add salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste. Then add the lemon juice and parsley. Stir until everything is combined. Serve right away.