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Mussel Risotto


Confession: I watch The Bachelor.

While I don’t watch on Monday nights like most of the world because I always have hockey games on Mondays, I was able to catch up last night. I had a hunch that AshLee would be the one headed home. I really like Lindsey — she seems like a down to earth girl.

Yes, I know. It’s reality TV.


When the show aired in Thailand this week, I quickly recalled the summer vacation we spent in Thailand. So many good memories and a truly picture-perfect place to experience. Somehow, even the footage from the show does it no justice!

Anyways, Lindsey said she was an adventurous eater on their date this week…but she said she wouldn’t eat bugs.

Of course, they ended up eating bugs and grasshoppers.


I’m trying to remember the first time I had a mussel, because frankly, they are quite unappetizing to look at. The fact that you purchase them alive is also unnerving. I mean, I’m lucky to keep a house plant alive, much less dozens of live mussels!

But, it’s really not that hard. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Literally.

I fell in love with mussels the summer I lived in Italy with Mr. Prevention. We would often order a big’ol bowl of steamed mussels when dining out. Learning how to cook mussels at home makes me feel very accomplished and this risotto is a perfect vehicle to showcase one of my favorite seafood delights!



Mussel Risotto slightly adapted from NY Times

4 lbs black mussels
1 1/2 cups dry white wine, divided
3 cups water
2-3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 medium onion, half sliced, half finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, 2 smashed, 2 minced
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig parsley
6 whole peppercorns2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


Clean the mussels; discard any that have opened or have cracked shells.

Combine 1 cup of the wine and the 3 cups of water in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the sliced onion, crushed garlic cloves, thyme and parsley sprigs, and peppercorns; bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover the pan and cook until the mussels have opened, about 4 minutes, stirring halfway through. Drain mussels, reserving liquid. Discard any mussels that have not opened. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the mussels from their shells.

Strain the liquid used to cook the mussels to remove peppercorns, etc. Add 2-3 cups stock to make 6 cups. Transfer broth to a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a wide, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the chopped onion, celery, and salt, and cook gently until the onion is just tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the arborio rice and the minced garlic and stir until the grains are translucent; 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup wine and stir until it is no longer visible in the pan. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have cooked down, about 5 minutes.

Begin adding the simmering stock, a couple of ladlefuls at a time. Cook, stirring often, until it is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of the stock and continue to cook in this fashion, adding more and stirring when the rice is almost dry. With 2-3 minutes left to cook, stir the peas and mussels into the risotto to warm through. Serve hot, topped with parsley.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition Information (per serving): 523 calories; 11.3 g. fat; 92 mg. cholesterol; 726 mg. sodium; 57.8 g. carbohydrate; 3.2 g. fiber; 30.3 g. protein; 4.2 g. sugar

Result: A tomato-y risotto with sweet bursts from the peas. Mr. Prevention said he would’ve preferred this recipe without the peas, but personally, I liked them. The original recipe called for saffron which I omitted because I didn’t have any. However, I think saffron would be a great touch. Enjoy!


 Another very busy day including a health fair and a heart healthy cooking class…we’re making lentil tacos!

Be well,


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  1. February 27, 2013 / 7:25 am

    This looks great, I can’t believe there is no cheese in the risotto. I’ll have try this next week, however will leave the mussels out. Not a fan, but I am of the bachelor. I liked Ashley too!

  2. February 27, 2013 / 7:27 am

    I never really understood the hype behind The Bachelor. I think the part of my brain that is in charge of my “girliness” is a bit broken at times…

  3. February 27, 2013 / 8:00 am

    I love food memories! The risotto looks wonderful and a great way to remember Italy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. February 27, 2013 / 8:07 am

    This recipe sounds wonderful. Why won’t Nick eat mussels? Ugh. Lindsey will eat bugs, but nick won’t eat mussels. Super annoying.
    I can’t stand Lindsey, by the way. Her voice and the way she purses her lips drives me nuts.

  5. Michelle
    February 27, 2013 / 9:06 am

    Ahh spoiler alert for the Bachelor, Nicole!! I stopped reading as soon as I thought it might be happening, but it was too late…now I’m going to have to keep my poker face on when I watch it with friends in a couple days (midterms this week so we’re playing catch up this weekend). Thanks a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nicole, RD
      February 27, 2013 / 8:14 pm

      I’M SORRY!!!!! ๐Ÿ™

  6. February 27, 2013 / 9:44 am

    I made mussels for the first time a few weeks ago. I couldn’t believe how cheap they were at the store! And not too difficult to make either. This looks great. And I can’t believe you guys went to Thailand! A dream of mine…

  7. March 1, 2013 / 1:50 pm

    I see this and I want to play with this recipe and expand it….and only Paella comes to mind…Kitchen creativity here we go

  8. March 11, 2013 / 9:51 am

    This looks great! Definitely going to have to whip this one up for dinner in the next few days =)

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