Sunday, July 27, 2008

july 27, 2008: frugal feasts mussels and green bean salad

Mussels over Fettuccini
To serve 8
This recipe can be adapted to what you have on hand. If you have a bottle of white wine, use a cup of it here, and drain the canned tomatoes before using. If you don’t have a bottle of white wine (or don’t want to waste it on cooking), use the tomatoes with their juice.
For the linguine:
2 pounds dried fettuccini or spaghetti
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
For the mussels:
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 can diced tomatoes, 15 ounce size
1 cup white wine or juice from tomatoes, see note above
2 bags mussels, opened, and inspected. Toss any with broken shells
3/4 cup half and half or light cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and the pasta and cook according to package directions until done. Drain, place in a large shallow bowl and add the butter or oil. Toss and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large, lidded pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and push it around until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Dump in the tomatoes and wine (if using) and bring to a simmer. Add the mussels and cover the pot. Let cook for about 6 minutes, just until the shells open and the mussels look firm and opaque.
Scoop the mussels out with a slotted spoon and put them on top of the linguine in the bowl. Raise the heat up to high and boil the cooking liquid for a few minutes to cook off some of the juice. Add the cream and stir well to mix. It should coat the back of a spoon. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed (you shouldn’t need much salt). Pour this sauce over the mussels in the bowl. Top with the chopped parsley and serve in cereal bowls, passing crushed red pepper flakes to the brave ones. Have a large bowl available for the shells.
Cost per serving: $1.42

Fresh Green Bean Salad
For eight servings
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4-5 oil cured sun dried tomatoes, chopped into bits
Large handful fresh basil or other herb, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, sliced into thin slivers
2 pounds fresh green beans, stems removed
5-6 more sun dried tomatoes cut into slivers, or a handful of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
¼ cup pine nuts
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Dump in the cut up green beans and cook. For a crunchier texture cook the beans for 5 minutes . For a softer texture, cook for 9-11 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
Stir together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add the cooked, drained green beans and toss to coat with the dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Cost per serving: $.45 without optional ingredients, $.73 per serving with grape tomatoes and pine nuts

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