Serious Eats: Recipes

French in a Flash: Creamy Saffron Mussel and Spinach Pasta

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

This pasta is based on a creamy saffron mussel soup I learned to prepare at cooking school in Paris. It was salty from the briny liqueur the mussels leach out into the pot, luscious and sweet from the cream, and heady and intoxicating from the scent of the saffron, which always reminds me of a genie jumping from a perfume bottle. It tasted like a million dollars.

What I love about doing this as a pasta dish is how rich it feels while actually being a bit on the cheap. The pasta cost me $2, the mussels $6, organic spinach about $2, and, pro-rated, the saffron about $3. Everything else I had in my fridge, so it comes to around $3.25 a person for a seafood pasta with saffron—a small fortune at most restaurants, if they are enterprising enough to sell it in the first place. And if you have to buy the wine, so be it: something to wash this down with!

I write a lot of recipes—I just did the math and just my columns require 156 a year—so when I find one that I really, truly, madly love, I want to tell you that I really, truly, madly love it. I am making this as a side dish on Christmas day, to serve with herb- and citrus-stuffed grilled whole fish. This caters to the many pescatarians in my family, but I don't think I will miss the roast.

Have the happiest of holidays!

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.

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