Mussels and kelp pappardelle

By Ned Bell
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Mussels and kelp pappardelle

This pasta dish is rich, creamy and full of umami, thanks to the kelp in the bright-green cream sauce and garnish. Ask your fishmonger to source fresh curly kelp for you. You can find dehydrated bull or winged kelp at health food stores. Once added to the sauce, it rehydrates to a spinach-like texture in less than a minute.



Kelp cream

  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bird’s-eye chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping (33%) cream, plus extra if needed
  • 1 cup fresh kelp or 1/3 cup dried bull or winged kelp, rinsed (if dried, soak in warm water for 10 minutes)
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • Sea salt, to taste

Mussels and pappardelle

  • 3 pounds live mussels
  • 1 pound dried pappardelle or fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons sliced fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons dried crushed bull or winged kelp (see headnote)
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 to 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)


Kelp cream

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add shallots and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients except salt, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cool lightly.
  2. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Strain purée through a fine-mesh sieve. Thin out, if desired, with a little extra cream. Season to taste with salt. (Can be made ahead and refrigerated.)
Mussels and pappardelle
  1. Put mussels in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Discard any that are open and won’t close when tapped or that have broken shells. Scrub off any debris and pull off beard. Keep chilled until needed.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat and add pasta. Cook until al dente, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallots and sauté for 5 minutes, until tender and translucent. Pour in wine and bring to a boil.
  4. Add mussels, cover and cook 2 minutes, just until the shells open up. Discard any that don’t open. Add kelp cream and cook for another 2 minutes, until warmed through. Stir in basil, dried kelp, lemon zest and juice and crushed red pepper (if using).
  5. Drain pasta and stir it into pan of mussels. Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve family style.


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