This rich, creamy, and dreamy Mussel Prosciutto Mascarpone Pasta combines finest Italian ingredients, and it’s perfect for a special occasion (Or just any day).
I hope you’re doing well and enjoying spring. We did enjoy it. For a couple of days. It looks like the season of rains and winds has started here in Nova Scotia. And by rains, I don’t mean those warm rains. These are the cold, autumn, “stay home under the blanket and with a cup of tea” kind of rains. Dear groundhog, we need to talk!
If the weather cituation isn’t too lovely in your area either, you should consider making this Mussel Prosciutto Mascarpone Pasta and celebrate. After all, it’s a bikini season around the corner, and some folks will probably restrain from having such decadent pasta sauces (On a side note, I don’t care for the bikini season and beach, and I’ll eat all the pasta!)
Some time ago I shared a recipe for White Wine Prosciutto Mussels which I prepared for our 13th Anniversary. I also noted that that recipe inspired me to make a pasta dish (Does it often happen with you when one recipe inspires you on creating something different? All the time with me. Sometimes while I am working on the first recipe…and that excitement is so strong that I want to drop everything and start making a new recipe ha-ha).
As soon as I described Andrey the concept of the dish, he agreed. That didn’t happen exactly this way. I was only able to ask something like that: “Would you like having pasta with…” when Andrey interrupted me responding “Of course! Would you make it right away please?” When it comes to the keyword #pasta, Andrey doesn’t need much time to process information. He almost never rejects it either (Well, probably with an exception when pasta and lavender go together in one description, but you won’t judge him, will you? After all, not everyone has a developed palate, right?)
Back to the pasta, though. Imagine this situation: mussels steamed in white wine with garlic and thyme, then combined with smoky prosciutto and decadent mascarpone?
Imagined? Go ahead and make this deliciousness, then! It’s not the time to be worried about the bikini season. Not yet.
1/2 – 2/3 cup mascarpone (For less decadent version, you can take the same amount of low-fat cream cheese)
salt, optional (Depends on how salty prosciutto is)
1/4 cup packed parsley leaves, roughly chopped
First of all, start with sorting and discarding mussels which are broken or chipped. Note that mussels should be tightly closed. If some of them are open, tap the shell on their hard surface, and if it closes, it’s safe to eat it.
If the mussels look nice and clean (cultivated mussels are normally clean), you don’t need to soak them. Otherwise, soak the mussels in cold water for 15-20 minutes. Personally, although the mussels I had were clean, I still soaked them for 5 minutes before cleaning.
Next, scrub the mussels under cold running water and remove the beards (kind of threads or fibres which are easy to remove by grasping and pulling). Drain the clean mussels. Now the mussels are ready to cook.
Add about 1/2 cup of wine and some water (The liquid should just lightly cover the bottom (about 0,5 cm thick) of the pan. We don’t cook the mussels in liquid – we basically steam it).
Add the mussels in one – maximum two layers, cover, and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until they are open. The mussels which don’t open should be discarded as well. Remove the mussels from the pan and let slightly cool then remove most of the hard shells reserving few whole mussels for decoration. Reserve al the juices as well.
Cook the pasta as directed on package in salted water, until al dente. Drain reserving some (up to a cup) water.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the garlic, 5 minutes. Add the prosciutto and thyme and cook 2-3 minutes.
Lower heat and stir in the mascarpone and return the cleaned mussels with juice. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mascarpone has incorporated. Try and season with some salt if necessary.
Combined with the drained pasta and mix, adding some reserved water to thin out the sauce.
Stir in the parsley and extra thyme and let stand a minute.