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Pasta and beans with mussels

Pasta e fagioli con le cozze translates to pasta and beans with mussels; It is an italian recipe from the Sorrento peninsula in Campania, south of Naples. Yes, this is the romantic place Pavarotti sings about in 'Torna Sorrento'... This is a very typical dish cooked and enjoyed in the small coastal villages, with a strong, intense and unique taste; and many have never heard of it.
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For 6 portions:
2 pounds of mussels;
6 ounces dried cannellini beans (white beans) or a can of pre-cooked white beans;
6 cherry tomatoes type;
2 garlic cloves
2 onions, chopped to small bits
1 cup white wine
7 or 8 tablespoons olive oil
fresh parsley,
salt and pepper to your taste
1 lb. short dry penne lisce


If we are to use dried beans, boil them in a lot of salt water with a teaspoon of baking soda for a few hours; and when they are very cooked transfer with a holed spoon in a blender or food processor and liquefy to a thick cream.
If you chose to use canned and pre-cooked beans instead then simply liquefy them as-is. Some people make this meal without liquefying the beans; its really your choice.

Meanwhile, when the beans are almost cooked, wash the mussels thoroughly, cleaning the shells with a brush, rinse under running water.
Put them in a large pot in which we pour a tablespoon of oil with a clove of crushed garlic and a glass of wine.
Close the pot, raise the heat and wait until all the mussels open. Discard all the unopened mussels; pick out the mussels from the shells and keep them in a bowl covered with their juices.

In a large and high pot and pour the remaining oil; we crush the other clove of garlic, put in the chopped onion, brown everything and then chop the tomatoes, pour them in the sauce and cook the sauce over low fire for about 10 minutes.
Next season with salt and pepper to your taste and add chopped parsley, pour the mashed beans over and the mussel cooking juices only
add the cooked pasta, mix and add one or two ladles of the water we boiled the pasta into add all the mussels and plenty of freshly ground pepper; stir gently and pour on each individual plate. Pour over each portion a trickle of olive oil, accompanying the dish with a raw red onion very thinly sliced.

 Serve with a full bodied red wine

Buon appetito!