Monday, December 3, 2012

Carmela Soprano's Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Garlic Bread - Zuppa di Cozze

The holidays.
The family.

Time to visit the shrink, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, M.D., M.A., M.F.T.
And just as stressed out as the rest of us.

Jennifer's chapter Rage, Guilt, Loneliness, and Food has a piece about a research paper.  It covers:
Why do Italian-Americans care so much about food?
Is it a sign of some deep-seated cultural neurosis?
Guilty Eaters, Angry Eaters and Single Eaters.
Fun stuff.

Do not read this part of her chapter now.
December is bad enough.
But, there are some good recipes in the chapter.

And some are physical enough to work off some holiday angst.

If time is short, do some of the mussels prep while the sauce is simmering.

It's good exercise to scrub the barnacles and seaweed off the mussels.
It's fun to toss any that have cracked shells or do not shut tightly when tapped.

Remove the beards by pulling them toward the narrow end of the shell.
It wouldn't hurt, while doing this, to think of someone who's giving you a hard time.
And much better than slapping that person silly.

Bought extra mussels?
Another good recipe is Carmela Soprano's Linguine alle Vongole.
Yes, it works with mussels.

                        Zuppa di Cozze 

Serves 4

Place in enough cold water to cover
4 pounds mussels or small clams
Let sit for 30 minutes.
Drain and scrub them with a stiff brush.

In a large skillet pour
1/3 Cup olive oil

Add to the oil
4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
a pinch of crushed red pepper
Cook, over low heat, 1 minute.

Stir in
1 Cup dry white wine
Bring to a simmer.

2 28 to 35 ounce cans Italian peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
pinch of salt
Stirring occasionally, cook over medium heat until the sauce is slightly thickened (about 20 minutes).
Gently stir in the mussels.
Cover the pot.
Cook until the mussels open (about 10 minutes).
Discard any that refuse to open.

8 slices Italian bread
Rub the toast with
1 whole garlic clove
Serve with the mussels.

Would I make Zuppa di Cozze again?
It also goes well with pasta.
And all that prep work probably saved someone from a punch in the nose.

One recipe down.  Seventy-one more to go. 

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