Friday, July 8, 2011

A romantic meal at home... Pasta with Steamed Mussels and Lobster, with a Creamy White Wine Sauce

The first time I ever tasted lobster was just over a year ago...  Jamie took me to the Melting Pot for our first Valentines together, and we had lobster tail with one of the many fondue courses served.  If you haven't been there, it's really a treat.  Just save room for the chocolate fondue course...

There's few things more succulent than buttery lobster (well, perfectly seared medium-rare tenderloin might take first place), but you don't have to wait for a special occasion or a night out to eat it.  A few weeks ago, we were browsing the meat and seafood counter at our grocery store on a relaxed Saturday, looking for something to cook at home that night.  A bag of live mussels caught our attention, as well as some lobster tails (granted, they are pricey, but anyone can afford a small one at $6.00 apiece, giving you a few bites of the savory meat).

Pasta, seafood and creamy sauce seem made for each other, and what resulted from our efforts that night was a delicious bowl of pasta with so much flavor and variety from the brininess of the mussels and lobster, a great counterpart to a creamy white wine sauce with sauteed mushrooms, fresh veggies for color and texture and Parmesan cheese.  Squeeze a little lemon on top to finish and you have yourself a really fabulous meal, so you can make any Saturday night at home a special and romantic occasion.  :)

Pasta with Steamed Mussels and Lobster, with a Creamy White Wine Sauce
  • 1 bag (about 2 pounds) live mussels
  • 1 lobster tail
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bottle white wine (remember, don't cook with wine that you wouldn't want to drink...)
  • 1/2 pound angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 fresh zucchini, sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • lemon wedges
There are a few steps to this dish, but don't stress over trying to time it perfectly for everything to finish at once.

First, clean the mussels by rinsing under cold water and removing the "beard".  Live mussels should be closed tightly; if you find one that's open and doesn't close when you touch it, then the mussel is already dead and should not be eaten.

In a large pan with a tightly fitting lid, bring the chicken broth and 2 cups of the white wine to a boil over medium high heat.  Place mussels and lobster in the boiling liquid, cover with the lid, and boil until until the mussels open.  Once they open, they're ready to eat (the lobster will be cooked through by this point as well).

Meanwhile, cook the angel hair pasta according to the box's instructions.  When it is almost cooked, drop the slices of zucchini in to lightly steam them.  Drain pasta and zucchini and set aside.  Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil to prevent sticking if the other ingredients aren't ready yet.

While you are steaming the mussels and lobster and cooking the pasta, prepare your white wine sauce.  In a large skillet, whisk together the whipping cream, 1 cup white wine, flour, parsley and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce to a simmer, add cheese and whisk until smooth.  Add mushrooms and simmer until sauce is thickened, the alcohol has cooked out and the mushrooms are softened.  Season with salt if the cheese is not salty enough.

To plate the dish, place the pasta and zucchini in a serving bowl.  Spoon the creamy mushroom sauce over the pasta.  Top with the freshly diced tomatoes.  Add mussels and lobster on top, and squeeze fresh lemon juice over everything.  Makes 4 servings.

You'll only have a cup of white wine leftover from the bottle, so have a second bottle handy to drink with your dinner!