Carlsbad mussels, white wine and lemon garlic pasta

Carlsbad, California

Hello Ladies,

I want to share a recipe that I made up last week and that was really, really yummy! One of the great things about being in Carlsbad is the new revamped farmers market on State Street. There are so many local producers that sell their fresh and delicious food, it totally inspires me to cook.

A couple of weeks ago I bought some lemon garlic pasta from the Pappardelles stand in the market and was dying to pair it with something scrumptious. In the end I fell under the spell of Carlsbad Aquafarm‘s eco-friendly mussels (local and gentle with the planet, what’s not to love?). I was a little daunted as I’d never cooked mussels before. It was surprisingly easy and yielded great results!

Here’s the recipe, it makes enough for two to four people depending on whether you have it as starter or a main course.


  • About 30-40 mussels
  • 200 gr (7 oz) of lemon garlic pasta (or another type of pasta you like!)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a large onion chopped into little cubes
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (plus more for drinking, naturally)
  • 2 pinches crushed chilli flakes
  • A handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt & fresh pepper

Note: Make sure that you properly store your mussels. You can keep them in a salad bowl and cover them in a damp cloth before putting them in the fridge. Do not store them in water.


Begin by preparing the mussels for their big swim. Scrub them well and take care to remove the ‘beards’  (you’ll know them when you see them). This can be a little time consuming so be sure to take that into account when planning your meal.

Put your water on to boil and don’t forget to salt it.

Put a large pan on medium/high heat and add the butter, followed by the oil. Add the garlic and give it a chance to warm up and start smelling nice and garlicky. Throw your chopped onion cubes in there and sauté those puppies until they are nice and tender – but not soggy.

Splash the white wine into the mix and take in the sweet sweet smell. Add the crushed chilli flakes. The wine should be lightly bubbling but not boiling like crazy so adjust the heat if you need to.

This is probably the right time to start cooking your pasta. Check the cooking instructions on the box so that you can time it with cooking times for the mussels.

Place the mussels in the pan and cover. The mussels should take between 5-10 to steam open. Uncover and survey the situation. If all the mussels are open, hurray they are cooked. If there are still unopened mussels, give them a little tap and hope that they open up. If they don’t, give them a little extra cooking time. If some mussels are still not open then you should discard them. It’s sad, but it means they died before you had a chance to cook them and eating them could result in food poisoning. Don’t do it.

Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the cooking juice from the mussels and mix. Add the parsley and some salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the pasta and mussels all cuddled up on the plate. Sit down and enjoy with some dry white, good company and a sunset (at least that’s how I like to do it!).

Bon appétit 🙂



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6 thoughts on “Carlsbad mussels, white wine and lemon garlic pasta

  1. momwilliams August 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm Reply

    Hey there Beth,
    Sounds de-lish. I haven’t seen lemon garlic pasta in France so I’ll have to adapt.How hard would it be to make fresh I wonder? Hmmmm. Otherwise, sounds like a great stocking gift. Hint, hint! Love, Mom,
    ps. we’re home from Greece-a huge lettuce salad for first course tonight. Can’t wait!!!

    • enlwilliams August 15, 2013 at 7:14 pm Reply

      Hey mom,

      You read my mind, I was also thinking about making it myself! The lemon worked great but I also think other pastas available in French stores would work. Spinach or black-ink fettuccine would be lovely I’m sure. Another idea would be to go to Galleries Lafayette Gourmet or to an Italian traiteur (your ravioli guy at the market?) and see what fresh pasta they have. More expensive, but it could be totally worth it.

      Also, I know you like your food spicy so you might consider adding a little extra chilli for an additional kick 😉


  2. Hanin August 21, 2013 at 8:01 am Reply

    Yummy it does sound good, plus you have a talent in describing the smells that makes me wanna try this recipe!!
    Any alternative for a drink other than white wine to accompany the pasta? 🙂
    Maybe we will try that in Herblay next week?
    Big Kisses,

    • enlwilliams August 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm Reply

      Thanks Hanin! It just occurred to me… can you eat mussels with little groucho growing inside you?

      • Hanin August 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm

        If they are well cooked I can 🙂 but the white wine… Heheh I can have lemonade instead 🙂

      • momwilliams September 5, 2013 at 10:32 am

        Hanin, you can use the white wine even though you are pregnant with Groucho. The alcohol in the wine evaporates so no danger at all. Do be careful about the mussels though!

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