The other night we had an epic thunderstorm… and I mean epic. I am original from Ontario so I know thunderstorms and this one was insane. You have to see it to believe it.
I was desperately trying to cook dinner and a smoothie before the lights go out for good, not fun at all. The thunder was cracking and shaking my house. The power surges threatened the edibleness of my meal as well as the lifespan of my blender. Once dinner was complete I took my big plate of food and my four berry smoothie into the basement and had dinner with lights flickering and windows rattling. The storm lasted almost six hours!
Hearing that another storm was coming the next night, I decided I wanted a stunning special lunch to fill up on in case the thunder arrived right at dinner time again. I would have a sandwich for dinner just to be safe but for lunch I was going to have a special treat. This is my version of Rachael Ray’s recipe for Sausage and Mussel Spaghetti.
I finely diced one shallot, one stalk of celery, two garlic cloves, two sundried tomatoes and got half a tsp of fennel and one bay leaf.
I removed the casing from half a package of mild Italian sausage and sauteed the meat in olive oil over medium high heat for five minutes.
Then I added the aromatics and cooked for five minutes.
I added some fresh chopped tomatoes, covered the pan and cooked for another five minutes.
I deglazed the pan with a few tbsp of white wine. My Facebook friend Pam asked me for a non-alcohol substitute and I think you could probably use a little clam juice and/or chicken broth instead.
I threw in about a dozen mussels while the wine was still steaming then quickly topped with the lid and let steam for a few minutes.
The mussels should open up and and be cooked after just a few minutes. Discard the mussels that are still closed.
At this point you want to check seasoning. The sausage and mussels release a lot of salt but my broth did need a little more and as well as some black pepper.
I tossed in some cooked spaghettini, stirred everything around and let the pasta absorb some of that sauce.
I know there are many out there who hate seafood but me? I think it is a thing of beauty. What I loved about this dish is it was light but still super tasty. Although if you do not like fennel, omit the seeds. I loved it but it was very strong. A bit of a “naughty dish” thanks to certain ingredients (Reg would never eat this) but how decadent it was for me to cook such a taboo dish without fear of the lights going out.
It was also an economical lunch for me. I already had the sausage, pasta, veggies… I just had to buy the mussels which were only $1.36 thanks to me living on the east coast. Part of cooking food on a budget is using what is abundant in your area. Lucky for me I adore seafood!