Carla Latini Fusilli pasta with mussels from Portonovo and Paccasassi by Rinci, two Conero excellences in one dish

Ancona typical dish, pasta with moscioli is a real must of summer season. But...what are the moscioli? First thing first, they’re not mere mussels. Moscioli grow spontaneously on the Conero rocks, in modest quantities, which make them a niche product – not for nothing, in 2004, they obtained the Slow Food presidium as wild mussels in Portonovo. Can be called moscioli only the mussels caught in the stretch of sea that goes from Pietralacroce to Sassi Neri of Sirolo, passing through Portonovo. Another aspect that deeply distinguish them is the taste: strong flavor, persistent and unique. It’s not comparable to the one of the other mussels.

it’s the main ingredient on the Anconetani’s table, who are very proud of their excellence, and it can be tasted in many different ways. The true admirers suggest to taste them as soon as cooked in a pot with oil, garlic and parsley. A simple recipe that enhances the taste of the moscioli. There are those who eat them raw, with a splash of lemon. A sure thing on the Anconetani’s tables is spaghetti with moscioli.

They are a real excellence, as well as the paccasassi, also called spaccasassi or St. Peter’s grass, the marine fennel that grows along the rocky coast. Until the end of the nineteenth century, this aromatic plant was very requested in our continent. Even Shakespeare mentioned them in one of his works. This aromatic plant, as a matter of facts, was widely used by seafarers because of its high content of vitamin C, helpful in the prevention of scurvy, a disease widespread at the time. In certain periods, paccasassi were collected in a massive way, which lead to its disappearance in several areas. Nowadays in the Conero regional park is listed among the protected species.

Rinci, a company from Castelfidardo, has rediscovered this deeply-rooted regional excellence and started its farm.

Paccasassi in extra virgin olive oil can find numerous uses in different dishes. Traditionally this aromatic plant is combined with fish dishes, such as seafood salads, boiled or raw fish. But they’re also perfect combined with bluefish and pasta. Nothing is thrown away, even the oil in which they are stored – because of its top quality and because it conveys the aromas of the sea fennel that was in there. An oil that can be used to spice up a lot of dishes, as bruschetta or salads.

Paccasassi has thousand nutritional virtues: they are rich in vitamins, carotenoids and flavonoids. A true panacea for our health.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

400 gr of Carla Latini fusilli pasta

1,5 kg of moscioli

Half a jar of Paccasassi in olive oil by Rinci

Half a glass of white wine

1 clove of garlic

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preparation

Clean the mussels, scraping the surface to remove all residues and impurities. Then rinse them in running water and place them in a saucepan with a lid. Cook them until the valve open.

Once all the mussels are opened, filter the cooking water and keep it aside.

Shell the mussels and remove the byssus. In the meantime, take the Paccasassi in oil by Rinci, drain them a prepare a rough mince.

In a pan, add extra virgin olive oil, a clove of garlic and pepper. Add the mussels, blend with white wine and let it cook for a couple of minutes. At this point we can add the paccasassi and after a minute, the water of the moscioli, previously filter.

Cook the fusilli in plenty of salty water and drain the pasta al dente.

Add the pasta to the sauce, and decorate with Paccasassi tops.

The dish will be tastier if accompanied by a good glass of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore.

Enjoy your meal!

 

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