A summer inspiration: Yankee fettuccine and mussels

By Jim BaileyYankee Chef logo


My inspiration for this dish comes from summertime fare, healthy thinking and the Italian favorite known as carbonara. I wanted the flavor of carbonara, with the Yankee twist, and the smell and taste of the rocky shoreline that we in New England enjoy, as do my beloved Italian friends and chefs.

I think you will enjoy not only the simple substitutions that take away some of the guilty pleasure of cream (found in carbonara) but the subtle flavor of spinach that is perfect with the sweet, briny taste of mussels. As you see below, I use two-color fettuccine but feel free to substitute your own favorite pasta. Why I didn’t put this recipe in my cookbook, I don’t know (still kicking myself over it!)

Yankee_Fettuccine_and_Muss copy

Fettucine carbonara with mussels

1/2 pound fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded*
1 (8.8-ounce) package of  two-color fettuccine
1 cup reduced-fat or skim milk
3 egg whites, slightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil
1/4 cup diced, roasted red bell pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste

Steam or boil the mussels in 1-inch of water until they just open, about 2 minutes covered. Drain, cool and remove the meat from the shell and set aside. In a large pot, cook the fettuccine according to package directions. Leave in colander while preparing remainder of recipe.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the milk, egg whites, cheese and chives together well, then set aside. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering over medium-high heat, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic and red bell peppers and cook over medium-high heat about 10 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the mussels and cook for 2 minutes, tossing and stirring. Add the egg mixture and bring to scalding while constantly stirring. Add the fettuccine and toss until combined, tasting for salt and pepper. Remove to serving plate and serve immediately.

Serves 2

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at theyankeechef@aol.com.

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