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Honestly this is on of the best recipes I’ve made in awhile, maybe because the first time I saw this recipe on David Rocco’s Dolce Vita show on the Cooking Channel I’ve been waiting for the best time to make it, well last night was the night and this recipe didn’t disappoint. Fresh, easy, seasonal and healthy- all the things this Cosmo Hippie Chef looks for. I served it with a crisp white table wine and slices of baguette topped with black truffle butter- totally gourmet and we didn’t have to leave the house. Maybe I should start charging Billy for dinner, Kidding! Enjoy!

TOTAL TIME:45 minPrep:20 Cook:25 min YIELD:4 to 6 servingsLEVEL:EasyIngredients

1/2 cup/125 ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh chile pepper, chopped (I used a fresno chile, they have a sweet heat. A new ingredient in my kitchen.)
2 pounds/1 kg fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded* (I only used a pound)
1 cup/250 ml white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
10 ounces/300 g butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
7 ounces/200 g ditalini pasta
2 cups/500 ml water (I used veggie broth)
1/2 cup/125 ml Parmigiano cheese

*I used the juice and zest of an orange,  I mixed those in right at the end

Cook’s Note: To clean fresh mussels, rinse under cold running water and rip off any beards. Discard any that do not close when tapped.

Directions

Heat up 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a deep saucepan. Add the garlic and chopped chile pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the mussels, wine, salt, pepper, and stir together. Cover with a lid, allowing the mussels to steam open. Cook until all the mussels are fully opened. Discard any unopened mussels.

In another saucepan, heat up 1/4 cup olive oil. Add the onion, butternut squash, salt, and black pepper. Cook for a few minutes. Then add the pasta and mix together. Add the water and allow the mixture to cook for 15 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Cook’s Note: To give the soup a creamier consistency, mash 1/2 the squash with the back of a fork.

While the butternut squash and pasta are cooking, shell the mussels and place them back into the saucepan. Transfer the mussel soup to the butternut squash soup. Mix together and add the Parmigiano cheese.

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