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Recipe Courtesy of Giuseppe Morisco
My signature dish was Cozze Ripiene, which is stuffed black mussels. It is a very traditional dish from my region in southern Italy, Puglia. A couple of months before the show, my mom came to visit from Italy and made the dish, which I haven't tried in a while. I decided at that point it would be perfect! The ingredients are simple; black mussels, fresh plum tomatoes, basil, garlic, onion, and eggs, Romano cheese, parsley for the stuffing. The Pugliese cuisine in the south is based on fresh ingredients and focuses a lot on seafood since so many towns are old fishing villages, so black mussels are used very frequently. I thought it would be a perfect way to show myself on a plate.
- 2 pounds black mussels
- fresh basil
- butcher's twine
For The Tomato Sauce
- 10 plum tomatoes
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 bunch basil, chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
For The Stuffing
- 3 slices of bread, crust removed
- 2 cups milk
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup Romano cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
To Make The Tomato Sauce
Quarter tomatoes, put in a sauce pan with onion, basil and a little bit of water.
Cook until tomatoes are soft and the water is reduced, approximately 15 minutes.
Remove the tomatoes, strain, add to food mill. Set aside.
In a sauce pan, saute garlic and parsley with oil and add tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 15 minutes.
To Make The Stuffing
Soak the bread in milk.
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, Romano cheese, salt, pepper, parsley and garlic. Whisk together thoroughly.
Drain the bread from the milk by squeezing it out with your hands.
Add bread into the egg mixture and mix together very well.
In a skillet, saute the stuffing mixture a couple of minutes until thickened. Remove from heat, set aside.
To Make The Mussels
Clean and open the mussels, making sure to leave the mussel on both sides of the shell.
Put the stuffing in the middle of the mussel, close the shell. Remove any excess stuffing from the outside.
Using a butcher string, tie a knot around each mussel and add to the tomato sauce. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
Once cooked, remove the butcher string, half of the shell and plate. Garnish with fresh basil.