Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sophia is smarter than Sarah... shocking: Pasta with Mussels and Saffron "In Cartoccio"

Mmm wanna know how to make this? I bet you do. Don't try to resist.
Before I tell you, I wanna get something straight. To clarify so all you 4 pound biatches and yo-yo dieters actually ENJOY the dish when you make it. We all know in this country .... pasta has received a pretty bad wrap. It's all about low carb, no carb, white flour is the devil incarnate etc. etc. etc. This is just BS.
Pasta CAN be healthy. There is this whole country of generally not-fat people who eat pasta every day called "Italy" to prove that point. Sure, when you put 12-lbs of butter and cream on it a la Fettuccini Alfredo .... yeah .... you might as well just go eat a box of Twinkies while you are at it. But, if use some fresh and healthy ingredients, then a little pasta is good for you. In the words of the eternal hottie, Sophia Loren:
"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti."

And if THAT BODY is wrong.... well then I don't wanna be right. 


Pasta with Mussels and Saffron baked in a foil pouch
(Sound better in Italian doesn't it)
350g dried long pasta (I used Fusilli col buco, any long dried pasta such as spaghetti, linguine, etc. will do)
1 28 oz can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 handfuls fresh cherry tomatoes
pinch of saffron
1 cup dry white whine
1 1/2 lb. mussels
2 cloves of garlic
1 shallot
red pepper flakes
heavy duty aluminum foil
* To see any of the photos enlarged just click on them!

1. Chop the garlic, shallots, and parsley. In a large flat pot heat 1 cup of white wine, add garlic, shallot, and a dash of red pepper flakes to the pot and simmer over medium-high heat until the wine starts to gently boil.

2. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350F and boil salted water for pasta. Add a pinch of saffron to the water. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Cooking the pasta in the saffron water should give the pasta a nice golden color and will add a hint of saffron taste to the pasta itself. Reserve a 1/2 cup of pasta water after the pasta is finished cooking.

3. Go back to the wine pot and add fresh mussels. Put the lid on the pot but leave open slight so steam can release. Steam until the mussels open. Remove mussels from pan but leave the liquid.
4. Drain and transfer pasta into pan with the wine. Add the 1/2 cup of reserved saffron pasta water. Turn up heat and bring liquid to a soft boil. Open the can of tomatoes, hand crush the tomatoes and drop into the pan. Then add in the fresh cherry tomatoes.
*I mix the tomatoes canned and fresh because Italian San Marzano's (even when canned) are much more flavorful than American tomatoes. You can use all fresh if you want, but you will have a stronger flavor if you can find some imported San Marzano's to add in. 

5. Add back in the mussels and parsley. Mix together and cook for 2 minutes while gently tossing ingredients.
6. Set out a deep baking sheet. Take a large piece of heavy-duty foil and cover the baking sheet and fold up the corner to make a large rectangular "bag" of sorts. Pour the contents of the pot into the bag. Then take another large piece of foil and cover, sealing the corners. Pop the baking sheet into the oven for 6-7 minutes.
7. Plate the pasta making sure there are at least 6+ mussels for each person..... and VOILA!
Yummy AND good for you! Carbs, Veggies, Lean Protein. Fresh and clean. Perfectly balanced meal. Channel your inner Sophia and make yourself something tasty for dinner tonight! Buon Appetito!


  1. Good Lord this sounds delish! I'm a TOTAL pasta lover...but alas it's my downfall. Seriously. Thus the name of my blog...fabulous Pasta NOT included. I could eat it everyday but I have serious moderation issue and have to be REALLY careful with it! (sound redic right? Most people have issues with chocolate or fries, but for me it's pasta!!!)

  2. Listen to Sophia!! Granted moderation is key, but pasta is good for you! You can eat this and not feel guilty later. Very low cal!

  3. I had pasta for lunch today and I still want this!! Thank your for the recipe :)

  4. Dude, you're funny. And that looks good.


  5. I've totally been looking for healthy pasta recipes lol. In fact, I just did a blog post about it like. . . yesterday! :] Pasta really does get such a bad wrap, but I honestly am addicted to carbs.

  6. That looks delicious! You put me in the mood for pasta now!

  7. Looks delicious. Just need to add some wine with the meal and you're perfect :)

  8. mmm yes! it most definitely sounds sooo yumm! I need to try t sometime.