Linguine with Mussels, Herbs and Wine

This is a quick and simple dish that packs in a lot of flavor, from the brine of the mussels to the floral quality of the herbs and the salinity of the wine. The herbs bring a lot to this dish and so it is worth using fresh if you can get them (at a minimum try to get at least one fresh). While it is important to have a mix of green herbs, you can easily substitute ones you like best. In addition to the three listed below, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, and even scallions work fine.

Serves 2-3


2 lbs. mussels (preferably small Maine mussels, Whole Foods often carried Moosabecs which are tasty and usually well-cleaned) NOTE: The mussels should be stored in a bowl sitting on a small bag of ice in the refrigerator until ready to use. You can ask the market to give you a bag of ice when you get the mussels.

2 T. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 ½ T. fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 ½ t. dried thyme)

1-2 T. fresh basil (or 1-2 t. dried)

4-5 chives blades snipped or chopped into small pieces

¾ c. dry white wine (for a slightly different take, you can substitute beer)

2 T. unsalted butter

freshly ground pepper

freshly grated parmigiano or pecorino cheese, best quality you can find

½ to ⅔ lb.of dried linguine


  1. Wash the exterior of the mussels well and pull off any beards (fibers coming out from where the shell closes) and return to the bowl in the refrigerator. Throw away any mussels that do not fully close within a few seconds when tapped on the counter as they are already dead and should not be eaten.
  2. Bring a well-salted pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  3. While the water is heating, finely mince the garlic, chop the fresh thyme (if using), and snip or cut the chives.
  4. Place a deep pot or large fry pan with a tight fitting lid over medium low heat. Add the olive oil and then the garlic. Allow the garlic to sauté for a minute or two, but do not let it brown.
  5. When the pasta water reaches a rolling boil, add the linguine and cook for the recommended amount of time on the package (usually 10-12 minutes).
  6. Add the white wine to the pot/fry pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Allow to come up to a simmer to cook off some of the alcohol.
  7. Add the mussels to the wine and garlic and immediately cover the pot/pan.
  8. While the mussels are cooking, roll up and thinly slice the basil leaves (chiffonade). This is done after the other herbs because the leaves will begin to discolor soon after they are cut.
  9. Cook the mussels for 3-5 minutes until all (or almost all) have opened. Immediately turn off and remove the pan from the heat.
  10. Add the butter and the herbs to the mussels and toss well. Discard any mussels that did not open.
  11. When the pasta is cooked, drain well, and divide among serving bowls.
  12. Top the pasta with mussels using tongs, leaving the bulk of the sauce still in the pot/pan.
  13. Once all the mussels have been removed, carefully tilt the pan and using a ladle or spoon pour the sauce over the mussels and pasta, leaving behind any residual grit (there shouldn’t be much).
  14. Top the dish with freshly ground pepper and grated cheese to taste. (The cheese will melt into the sauce and enrich it.)

Barbecued Beans

These beans are a cross between Texas style barbecued beans and New England baked beans. They don’t have the ground beef typical of Texas, but are spicier and less sweet than the New England tradition. The beans can be made in either a vegan or a carnivore’s version. They are wonderful as a side dish to almost any cookout food, but have enough depth of flavor to serve as the main attraction with additions like crusty bread, avocado, a fried egg, or even just tossed with some leftover brown rice. They also reheat and freeze beautifully so it is worth making a big batch.


1 lb. best quality pinto or similar bean (in the ones pictured I used Rancho Gordo‘s King City Pinks), soaked for a few hours or overnight

1 or 2 pieces of thick cut bacon (or 1-2 oz. or guanciale, if you weirdly happen to have it as I did) cut into medium dice (about ⅓”) – OPTIONAL

1 T. of neutral oil (safflower, canola, or vegetable) NOTE: Use 2 T. oil if not using bacon

1 small or ½ large yellow onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small or ½ large green pepper, finely diced

1 (or more) jalapeño peppers, finely diced (feel free to substitute Fresno or other hotter chiles if you prefer more heat)

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1-3 cups water (amount needed to ensure that beans are submerged in at least 1 ½ inches in liquid)

¼ cup of ketchup

1-2 T. mustard (Coleman’s English if you have it, but you can use anything you have on hand)

2 T. dark brown sugar

1 T. apple cider vinegar (feel free to substitute any vinegar you like if you don’t have apple cider)

1 T. hot sauce

2 t. smoked paprika or your favorite chili powder

salt to taste


  1. Soak the beans, if you have time, for at least 3 hours or overnight. If you don’t remember to do this, don’t worry, it will just take longer for the beans to cook and they will probably need added liquid (hot water) during cooking.
  2. Drain the beans.
  3. In a large oven-proof pot or pan big enough to hold the whole dish, add the oil and the bacon, if using. If using bacon, cook slowly over medium low heat to render as much fat as possible from the meat. Remove the diced pieces from the pan when they are cooked. If not using meat, heat the oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the diced onions to the pan and sauté until just starting to turn opaque.
  5. Add the garlic, green pepper, and jalapeño and sauté for a minute or so.
  6. Add the chicken stock, beans, and water to cover.
  7. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for 45 minutes on the stove top on low to medium heat. Just high enough to keep the beans bubbling and so they begin to soften. Add hot water if the top begins to look dry.
  8. Preheat the oven to 300° F.
  9. Add all the other ingredients to the pot, except the salt: ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, hot sauce and smoked paprika or chili powder, as well as the reserved bacon, if using, and stir gently to distribute throughout.
  10. Cover the pot and bake for 2 ½ hours. Check for doneness and add salt at this point (whether or not they are fully done). If the beans are fully cooked and have absorbed the flavors, you can take them out and let them rest for at least 15 minutes (or longer if you want) before serving. If they are a little too liquid for your taste, remove the top and bake uncovered for another 15-30 minutes. If they are not fully cooked when you check at 2 ½ hours, return to the oven and check every 20 minutes or so until they are done. (Depending on their age and if they were soaked before cooking, beans can take up to 4 hours in the oven).

This is also a great recipe to change up the flavorings, heat and sweetness level to suit your own taste!