Monday, April 4, 2016


Portuguese chorizo (chouriço - Portuguese spelling) is different from Mexican chorizo. 
Mexican chorizo is usually made with native chile peppers. Portuguese chorizo gets its distinctive smokiness and deep red color from dried smoked red peppers. It is made with lean pork and flavored with spices, especially smoked paprika. The sausage is then smoked to enhance its zesty aroma and taste.

24 to 30 mussels, beards attached
8 oz (250 g) pappardelle pasta
1 T (15 ml) extra-light olive oil
8 oz (250 g) chorizo sausage, removed from casings
1 large shallot, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T (30 ml) tomato paste
¼ cup (60 ml) chopped basil, divided
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine, divided
½ cup (125 ml) half & half or cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T (30 ml) chopped parsley
Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

Scrub mussels under cold running water.
Leave beards attached and place in a bowl, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate until read to cook.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
While waiting for water to boil, start the sauce.

In a very large skillet, add the oil and over medium heat, cook the sausage for 5 minutes, breaking it up with a spoon as you cook it.
Add the shallot and cook another 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Add the tomato paste, half of the basil, and half of the wine.
Turn heat down to very low while you boil the pasta.

Boil pasta for about 5 minutes.
Save ½ cup of the pasta water.

Add the half & half or cream to the sauce and turn up the heat to medium.
Add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce and some of the pasta water.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Gently toss to combine.

Divide between two warm pasta bowls and keep warm in a 200 F (93 C) degree oven while steaming the mussels.
Remove bowl of mussels from refrigerator and remove beards with "kitchen-only" pliers.
In the same skillet, add the mussels and the rest of the wine.
Cover and steam over medium heat until mussels open, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Discard any mussels that did not open.

Spoon mussels and juice on top of each bowl of pasta.
Sprinkle with the chopped parsley, the rest of the chopped basil, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Serves 2

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