Mussels Stuffed with Metapontina Cheese Cooking Recipe – Cozze Ripiene Alla Metapontina Recipe
This recipe brings together fish and cheese, which is quite rare in Italian cuisine. It is typical of the cooking of Locana, the old name for the region of Basilicata, which borders Campania, Puglia, and Calabria near the southern “toe” of Italy.
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 2 lb. (1 kg) mussels
- 3-4 oz. (100 g) stale bread (preferably bread made from hard wheat)
- 1 clove garlic
- A few sprigs of parsley
- 1 lb. (500 g) ripe tomatoes
- 2-3 oz. (70 g) caciocavallo or provolone cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt, pepper
- Soak the stale bread in a little water, squeeze it dry, and break it up.
- Peel and chop the garlic. Wash the parsley, remove the stalks, and chop.
- Peel the tomatoes (after immersing for a few seconds in boiling water, then in cold water, or with a serrated vegetable peeler), and dice them finely.
- Grate the cheese.
- Clean the mussels.
- Scrape the shells, remove the beard, and rinse.
- Open them while raw: slide the tip of a knife between the two shells on the straighter side of the mussel and run it all the way round.
- When the knife arrives at the muscle, bend it slightly to act as a lever and separate the two halves.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and lightly oil a baking sheet.
- Place the halves containing the mussel meat on the baking sheet and discard the empty ones.
- Soften the tomatoes and garlic in the olive oil in a skillet.
- Add the crumbled bread. Mix together.
- Remove the skillet from the heat; add the grated cheese, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.
- Spoon the mixture into each mussel shell and bake for 15 minutes. Serve hot.
Suggested food/wine match
- Paternoster, Biancorte—Basilicata IGT
For a simpler and quicker stuffing for mussels, mix bread crumbs, grated Par¬mesan., chopped parsley, garlic, and chili together in a bowl with olive oil.
Did you know?
Mussels must be eaten within three days of their harvest, eliminating any that are broken or do not close when tapped.
Caciocavallo means “cheese on horseback,” and is possibly so called because the cheeses are tied together and matured astride a branch, as if on horseback. The cheese was mentioned by Hippocrates as far back as 500 BCE.