With a few humble ingredients and a little bit of extra preparation, you can have a hearty and beautiful meal that can cover both first and second courses. With cozze ripiene, the mussels are steamed open, and the liquid is reserved to add to a rich tomato sauce. The opened mussels are stuffed with breadcrumbs and Pecorino cheese, closed with kitchen string and cooked in the tomato sauce. Sandwiched in their shells with the breadcrumb mixture, the mussels can be served separately, while the tomato sauce — infused with the flavor of the mussels — is served with pasta as the first course, or perhaps even the next day.
Stuffed Mussels (Cozze Ripiene) – Serves 4
2 pounds (1 kilogram) live mussels in their shells, cleaned of their beards and any exterior grit2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil2 cloves garlicOne 14-ounce (400 grams) can of tomatoes (chopped or peeled)1 bunch parsleyAbout 2 cups (200 grams) breadcrumbs3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) stale bread, soaked in a little milk until soft3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) Pecorino cheese, grated2 eggsSalt and pepperDirections
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