Homemade pasta with Mussels in a White Wine Sauce 1.12 Double Date
"I wonder if the mussels are fresh?” “Um, well, it does say ‘fresh mussels’ on the menu.” Yes, but a lot of times they say ‘fresh’ and they’re not, they’re frozen but they’re just called ‘fresh’ because they were fresh when they were frozen. Plus if they’re not stored with the correct drainage they just sit around in their own excretions, which is kind of like sitting around in your own -” “Sookie, I beg of you, do not order the fresh mussels.”
For the pasta
2 cups of all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
6 egg yolks
1 tbsp olive oil
For the sauce
I lb of mussels
1 shallot, chopped
¼ cup butter
1 ½ cups dry white wine
1 ½ cups of heavy cream
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
To make the pasta:
On a clean, dry surface, pour out your flour and mix in your salt. Using your fingers, create a large well in the center of the flour.
In a small bowl, beat the yolks, eggs, and oil together. Slowly pour the eggs into the flour well.
Using a fork, carefully begin to combine the inner wall of the flour with the eggs. If your eggs start to escape (aka run across your counter) don’t panic! Carefully mix in more of the flour to slow the eggs.
Continue mixing the flour and eggs until you have a ball of dough.
Begin kneading your dough by rolling then folding the ball of dough across the counter with your hands. It can take some time before the dough is soft enough to fold. Just keep kneading! You’ll need to knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
Press your finger into the dough. If it slowly springs back, it’s ready, and the gluten has formed.
Wrap the dough in cling wrap or beeswax for one hour to rest at room temperature.
Cut your dough into 8 even pieces. Wrap 7 of the pieces back up to keep from drying out.
Roll out one piece of dough, maintaining a very long rectangular shape. If you are using a pasta maker, use to thin your dough until the dough is translucent. You should be able to see your fingers through the dough when you lift it. If you don’t have a pasta machine, use a rolling pin or a wine bottle to roll out your dough to the same thinness.
If you are using a pasta machine, cut your sheet of dough with your desired setting (I used the tagliatelle setting on mine. If you don’t have a machine, loosely fold your sheet of dough. Don’t press down or you’ll have to roll it out again! Fold the bottom half up to the center and then the top half down to meet the other half. Do this same process again. Using a sharp knife, cut your dough into even pieces of about ½ in thick. It's okay if you don't cut perfect noodles. That's part of the fun of homemade pasta!
Unravel your noodles and sprinkle with flour so they don’t stick together. Repeat this process with 3 of the remaining pieces of dough.
Dry your pasta for about 20 minutes at room temperature.
Boil a large pot of salted water over high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes or until al dente. Save about ¼ cup of the pasta water and drain the noodles.
To Make the Mussel Sauce:
Rinse the mussels in cold water and scrub off the beards, any barnacles, sand, or anything else that might be still attached. Discard any mussels that don’t close when squeezed unless you purchased frozen.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes.
Carefully add the wine so as not to splatter. Cook for about 3 more minutes.
Slowly stir in the cream and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the mussels and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened.
Add the salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and parsley and stir for an additional minute.
Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water.
Serve with your choice of grated cheese and fresh parsley
I love making my own pasta! It is obviously a very time consuming process. However, to me, it’s really worth it. I always have a lot of fun making it and the payoff is good. The texture of fresh pasta really can’t be beat. Besides, we are trying to channel Chez Fleur here! That being said, if you don’t want to make your own pasta, that is perfectly okay too! Boxed pasta is cheap and easy to make and will totally work with this recipe. I first attempted making my own pasta a couple months back after a trip to the Mediterranean coast. One of our stops was the Cinque Terre in Italy. This is in the Liguria region where pesto alla Genovese is made, and I. fell. in. love. I stocked up on a few jars, but had to leave room in my suitcase because we still had three more countries to visit.
When I returned home, I wanted to try my hand at making my own pasta to serve with the pesto alla Genovese. I didn’t have a pasta machine at the time, and I didn’t make the noodles thin enough. They puffed up quite a bit in the water. But I had so much fun making it. The second time I made it, I followed this video by Buzzfeed Tasty on how to make your own pasta. They explain that the old Italian way of checking to see if your dough was thin enough was that you could read a love letter through it. How poetic! Then for my birthday, I got a pasta maker which made everything so much easier.
Sookie and Jackson are one of my favorite couples on this show and this episode is seriously so cute. I love that they try to go all out with this fancy restaurant for their first date, but they end up having burgers at Luke’s because that’s where they are most comfortable. First dates are often the worst, but you should at least be some place you feel comfortable. It also helps to have your best friend there to knock some sense into you when you’re nervously babbling about mussel excretions or mud pies. Although, it does not help to have your date’s annoying cousin tagging along.
Let’s discuss Rune shall we? I will say, at first, Rune does get the short end of the stick. He’s staying with his cousin who suddenly decides to change their plans and go on a date instead. I know if I was in Rune’s shoes, I would be annoyed by this. However, I don’t think that gives him permission to be an ass to Lorelai. She didn’t ask for this either. She was trying to do something nice for her best friend. If anything, he should have kept his annoyance focused on Jackson. While we would have been left without great lines like “Where did Rune come from” and “Bye loon!” I think Jackson and Sookie would have been better off by postponing their first date until Rune went home. Although, we do learn later on that’s not exactly any time soon.
Even though Lorelai gets dragged onto this horrible date, she does get to have that wonderfully sweet moment with Luke at the dinner when he suggests they play cards. That’s what I love about season one, all the cute moments between Luke and Lorelai, the back and forth of will they/won’t they. Obviously I do like when they end up together, but the sexual tension is just so pure in this first season.
Now we’ll shift gives to the other double date of this episode, Rory and Dean and Lane and Todd. All I can really say is poor Lane. I’ll discuss this more in later episodes, but I think Lane is the most mistreated of the characters in terms of plot, development, and overall storyline (except for Dave Rygalski - I will forever curse the OC for taking Adam Brody away from Gilmore Girls). I discussed in my post for Love, War, and Snow about how Rory is actually not a great friend to Lane, and this episode only further proves this. If Rory saw how bad of a time Lane was having on her date with Todd, she should have offered to get Lane out of that situation. That’s what any good friend would do in a bad date situation.
But it doesn’t matter because all of that comes crashing down when Mrs. Kim realizes Lane has lied to her and she and Lorelai catch the four on their double date. Lane ends up getting one of her worse punishments on the show, a grounding with no end in sight. Although when she calls Rory at the end of the episode, we get such a quarantine vibe with Lane’s excitement of getting to stand outside. I know I will be that level of excited (and then some) when all of this is finally over.
I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s. As I said in my last post, I know the changing of the year isn’t going to magically resolve all our problems from 2020. However, I do feel a little lighter as we enter a new month. 2021 probably won’t be all that better than 2020, but there is a bit of optimism I can feel fluttering about. I think many of us learned some hard lessons in 2020 about being grateful for small moments and treasuring the people you have in your life. I hope in 2021, we all hold onto that lesson.
Here’s to a better year, friends. Happy Cooking!
If you missed what I made last episode, catch up here!