Cozze di latte: milk mussels
Ok here’s a darling, doozy of a recipe—called cozze di latte: literally “milk mussels,” but there’s no milk. It’s only because the color, or lack of it that makes it a “white” dish, meaning no red sauce or tomatoes, and that give it it’s misnomer “milk.”
I can only approximate the quantities, so you do the same.
Use a heavy sauce pan with high sides (terracotta will do nicely) some kind that can go into the oven, like Pyrex.
Spaghetti (about a lb)
Potato (1 large)
Onion (1 large)
Mussels (about 2 lbs)
Juice from mussels
Some white wine (1/2 glass)
Hot pepper, if desired
Cook one lb of spaghetti in salted water to very underdone that’s harder than “al dente” (because this will be baked in the oven)
Cook 2 lbs of cleaned and washed mussels in a little water, olive oil, hot pepper, garlic, and a ½ glass of white wine. They will “kick out” their own juice. Reserve the juice , toss out the hop pepper and garlic, and halve the mussels
Wilt one large onion cut into rounds in butter and oil
At least one large yellow potato, thinly sliced. Keep in iced water so it won’t turn color until ready to use.
1. In a big oven-proof pot with high sides:
2. Fill bottom with a light covering of olive oil
3. Next place in a lb of cooked spaghetti
4. Layer the large, wilted onion rounds (butter and oil) on the pasta
5. On top of that put a covering of very thin cut rounds of potato
6. Next place over potatoes, the halved, cooked mussels
7. Sprinkle mussels with Italian rice for risotto and finely chopped parsley
Repeat layers from #5 till you end up with a layer of potatoes
Sprinkle generously with bread crumb, miserly with grated Parmigiano (as in not too much) and parsley, some flecks of butter and a hit of olive oil—don’t drown it! And no need for salt as the mussel juice will provide it.
Take the reserved liquid and pour around the circumference of the pot all the way up to the top layer. Cover tightly and bake in the oven for at least 45 minutes or until the rice and potatoes are done. Remove cover for the last 5 minutes of cooking and “brown” the topping, or pop it under the broiler
Serve one large spoonful (directly from pot) onto each plate…your taste buds will die and go on to Elysium and there, pray for the remaining souls on earth who have never eaten this delicacy.
Any questions, post a comment…complaints, cook hot dogs.