Baked Mussels with Pepperoni Rice
This recipe for baked mussels filled with pepperoni-flecked rice is from the chef couple behind dinnertable, which is nestled behind The Garret East in New York City. The husband-and-wife pair met while working together at the original Park Avenue Seasons on the Upper East Side. Most recently, they worked worked together as executive chef and chef de cuisine at Quality Italian. Tacinelli, a veteran of Quality Meats, owes his passion for cooking to his Italian-American grandparents, while Rito spent her youth working at her family’s Italian bakery and has worked for a number of NYC restaurants including Torrisi Italian Specialties.
What to buy: Calasparra is short-grain rice from the region around Valencia in Spain, paella capital of the world. Like its cousin, Bomba, Calasparra rice can absorb large amounts of liquid and remain distinct and firm.
Photos: Vanessa Granda.
For the mussel stock:
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 cup olive oil
- 6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 5 pounds mussels in the shell, scrubbed and debearded
- 1 cup white wine
For the rice:
- 170 grams pepperoni, finely chopped in the food processor
- 1/2 cups olive oil
- 50 grams tomato paste
- 1 brown anchovy, finely chopped
- 3 grams dried oregano
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cups Calasparra rice (see note in intro)
- 2 1/2 cups mussel stock
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of chile flakes
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
To make the mussel stock:
1In a heavy-bottomed pot, cook the garlic in oil until lightly toasted. Add parsley. Add mussels and wine. Cook until the mussels barely start to open.
2Remove open mussels immediately from the pot and place in refrigerator to cool. Strain the liquid that remains in the pot (this is the "mussel stock”) and set aside.
To cook the rice:
1In another pot, cook the pepperoni in olive oil over low-medium heat until the oil turns bright red. Add tomato paste, anchovy, and oregano. Stir. Allow to cook for five minutes, then add onion and garlic. Cook until tender.
2Add wine and cook until evaporated. Add rice and mussel stock and bring to a simmer. Stir frequently while cooking over low-medium heat. Once all liquid has evaporated and rice is cooked, remove from heat and cover with a lid. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Cool rice mixture in refrigerator.
1Remove one side of each mussel shell and free the mussel from the remaining shell with a paring knife. Stuff each mussel with the rice mixture.
2To serve, heat the stuffed mussels in a 400°F oven. Serve with lemon wedges.
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