We’re taking a trip to Italy today on The Rose Table with a pasta dish inspired by my favorite chef, The Tuscan Gun.
This is a very quick recipe. I’ve made this many times for dinner. It takes about twenty minutes. I start with the bacon, set a pot of salted water to boil, then start the tomato sauce. Bacon and mussels is an underrated combination in my opinion!
This recipe uses Nepitella, an herb that I’m delighted to now grow, but you can certainly substitute oregano or parsley or even tarragon. I heard about Nepitella watching chef Gabriele Corcos‘ Instagram live last summer. He mentioned Nepitella as an ingredient and his wife, Debi Mazar, interrupted, saying people wouldn’t know what that meant. He explained that Nepitella, also known as Calamint, grows wild all over Tuscany and is a very popular herb in Italian kitchens. I was surprised I’d never heard of it before.
I immediately ordered seeds and now grow Nepitella in my garden! It tastes a bit like a minty oregano and is delicious with tomato-based dishes. Someday I’ll visit Tuscany and see wild Nepitella for myself but in the meantime, I’m happy to grow it at home.
You can certainly substitute fresh cherry tomatoes for the can of fire roasted tomatoes in the summertime when you have amazing tomatoes! Thank you Gabriele for the inspiration.
Want a slice of this cake? Get the recipe for my Coconut Vanilla Cake here.
Fettuccine with Mussels and Bacon
1 box Fettuccine (note: I only use about 3/4 of the box)
4 slices thick-cut bacon
1 pound of mussels
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
Black pepper to taste
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh Nepitalla (or oregano or parsley), chopped
Lots of parmesan cheese
- Cut bacon into lardons and cook in a nonstick skillet until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil and garlic in heavy pot until garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Be careful not to burn garlic.
- Add fire roasted tomatoes, white wine, salt, and black pepper. Feel free to add a splash of the bacon grease from the bacon pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced, about 6-8 minutes. Tomatoes should cook down to form a sauce.
- Prepare mussels: rinse and check for beards. A top-quality grocer such as Central Market will sell them already debearded but there may be some stragglers. Just grab the string and pull gently but firmly. Discard any mussels with cracked shells. All mussels should be closed. Tap open mussels gently on the counter. Any that close within a few minutes are fine to eat.
- Add mussels to tomato sauce. Gently stir. Cover and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes. All mussels should open. Discard any that do not.
- Transfer to serving bowl. Toss with fettuccine, Nepitella, and parmesan cheese.
This recipe was featured in an episode of The Rose Table. Watch me make it:
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Want more recipes with mussels? Try my Steamed Mussels with Parmesan and Tomatoes, White Wine Mussels, and Fideos.
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