I think pancetta must have been invented by someone who thought bacon was both delicious and not fancy enough. Ha! Pancetta is a very similar, less smokey bacon in my book... so feel free to substitute if you have a hard time finding it.
We are making a limited amount of dinner kits this week (September 2021) that have everything you need to make this recipe (including the fancy pancetta!) with the exception of the wine. Pop next door to The Wine Loft and ask them to find you a simple white wine for cooking if you don't have something at home.
~serves 2, for dinner
- 1.75 pounds mussels
- 2 oz pancetta
- 2 oz salted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine (or stock/broth)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- small shallot
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 T fresh parsley leaves
Place the mussels in a colander and give them a thorough rinse while you debeard them. (Debearding mussels is as simple as giving the fuzzy fibers on the outside of the mussel a twist and a yank.) Slice your tomatoes in half, slice the lemon into 4 wedges, peel and mince the shallot and garlic, and rough chop the parsley. Prep work is done!
Add the shallot to a deep sided pan with the minced garlic, butter and pancetta. Cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, tossing a bit every minute or so, until the shallot and garlic are tender and the pancetta has rendered and browned.
Add 1/2 cup white wine (or your broth/stock/water of choice - if using water, reduce to 1/4 cup) to the pan, slide the mussels on top, and secure a lid. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Pop the lid and give everything a stir - at this point you should see lots of steam and the mussels starting to open. If things look underwhelming, turn up your burner a bit and replace the lid for 2 more minutes. If you've been steaming, proceed to the next step!
Add the tomatoes and lemon wedges, and give everything a good stir. Move the mussels that are fully open to the side of the pan and tuck the ones that are still mostly closed into the hot spot. Return the lid to the pan for an additional minute of cooking time.
Remove the lid for the last time and set aside. Let everything cook for about one more minute as you give it all a stir or shimmy. Mussels should all be open and looking delicious!
Divide your pan contents between two serving bowls (or plates that have a good lip) sprinkle with the parsley, and serve immediately with a baguette for dipping. Enjoy!