Hot Pink Pasta with Mussels and Citrus

Hot Pink Pasta with Mussels and Citrus

This month’s recipe had to be special for Valentines Day, which is my favorite holiday and one of my favorite days on the calendar at all.

Hot Pink Pasta with Mussels and Citrus is just one of my favorite divinations of all time. This recipe was originally inspired by Leo Messi, one of the world’s top world footballers, and (his club) FC Barcelona even once had a jersey that was hot pink and black that I thought was stunning … yes yes yes, back to the recipe. 

This dish is perfect for Valentines Day – or any time – for lots of reasons:

  • It is gorgeous and looks like love made visible on the plate. 
  • It is incredibly delicious, sure to please you and your guests.
  • It has fabulous aphrodisiac quality – wheat, shellfish, citrus, and almonds are all right up there on Aphrodite’s list.
  • Almonds are an ancient, time-honored symbol of true love.

And you’ll just have to trust me on those last two especially ;).

Trust me also, when I say that using blood oranges – now in season – will bring this dish to its most beautiful life with their passionate hue and flavor. In my experience, they are evidence that we live in a kind and benevolent Universe. 

Buon appetito, and Happy Valentines Day!

Hot Pink Pasta with Mussels and Citrus

Prepare Citrus-Wine Sauce:

Juice of 4 blood oranges, about 1 cup (may also blend in juice of pink grapefruit, tangerines, oranges)

1 cup white wine – dry or sweet, your preference

1 small slice fresh red beet

Before preparing pasta, combine all ingredients in a squeeze bottle. Allow colors to blend for a deep pink hue. Do this in advance as early as you can; the earlier you start, the deeper the pink will become.

Prepare pasta and set aside:

1 lb. medium shell pasta, cooked al dente, per package directions

Generous pinch of sea salt (optional)

Toss cooked pasta with olive oil and salt and set aside.

Prepare “almond-crumb picada”:

½ cup roasted almonds, diced

½ cup toasted breadcrumbs

¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Combine all ingredients, set aside for topping pasta.

Prepare pasta for serving:

1 lb. fresh mussels

¼ cup fine-quality extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup softened butter mixed with one clove minced garlic

In large skillet, heat some butter and olive oil over medium-high flame. Add a handful of mussels, and quickly stir until all mussels have opened; discard any mussels that have not opened. Add about 1/3 of the cooked pasta, and heat through with mussels, adding about 1/3 of the citrus-wine sauce. When thoroughly cooked, transfer from skillet to serving dish/bowl, and repeat process with remaining ingredients. Sprinkle pasta and mussels with picada; serve immediately. Yields 4-6 servings.

Suggestions for grocery shopping ~

Our friends at the Original Farmers Market would love to supply you with just about everything you need for this recipe.

  • Visit Monsieur Marcel for olive oil, butter, wine, bread crumbs, and imported pasta varieties; their staff will provide expert guidance. Step outside and visit the Fresh Seafood Market for mussels. Clams or shrimp may also be substituted or added to this recipe! Before cooking mussels or clams, discard any that are already open.
  • Magee’s House of Nuts has your almonds.
  • Farm Fresh Produce can load you up with blood oranges and any other citrus you’d like; also beets, fresh flat-leaf parsley, and garlic.
Diana Scalia

Diana Scalia

Your Chef and Tour Maestra

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