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Mussels and Kelp Pappardelle Recipe by Ned Bell


Ned Bell has made it his life’s goal to protect our oceans by advocating for traceable, sustainable seafood. Not only does he want us to be aware of the importance of healthy oceans for our future, also he wants us to get to know the diversity of the life that lives in it.

When talking about his cookbook Lure, he says: “I challenge people to eat seafood once a week for the next year, and I challenge people once a month to eat something from the ocean they’ve never had before. Dive a little deeper into this conversation. Try new things.”

Ned wants his food industry peers to join him in asking questions about where their seafood is coming from. “The full team has to be committed to sustainability,” he says. “If the full team above and below the chef isn’t committed, then it just ends up being hot air. We need to be asking questions: Is it traceable? Is it labelled properly? Is it sustainable? Is it responsibly farmed?”

With this Mussels and Kelp Pappardelle Recipe Ned shares with MENU Mag today, he brings together a comforting pasta dish is rich, creamy and full of umami, thanks to a unique and less consumed sea product: kelp.

“Ask your fishmonger to source fresh curly kelp for you. You can find dehydrated bull or winged kelp at health food stores. Once added to the sauce, it rehydrates to a spinach-like texture in less than a minute.”


Serves 4


Kelp cream

1/2 Tbsp canola oil

1/2 shallot, finely chopped

1 small clove garlic, finely chopped

1 bird’s-eye chili, seeded and finely chopped

1 1/2 cups whipping (33%) cream, plus extra if needed

1 cup fresh kelp or 1/3 cup dried bull or winged kelp, rinsed (if dried, soak in warm water for 10 minutes)

Grated zest of 1/2 lime

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Sea salt, to taste


Mussels and pappardelle

3 lbs live mussels

1 lb dried pappardelle or fettuccine

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

1/4 cup white wine

3 Tbsp sliced fresh basil

3 Tbsp dried crushed bull or winged kelp (see headnote)

Grated zest and juice of 1 to 2 lemons

1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)


Kelp cream

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add shallots and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients except salt, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cool lightly.

Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Strain purée through a fine-mesh sieve. Thin out, if desired, with a little extra cream. Season to taste with salt. (Can be made ahead and refrigerated.)


Mussels and pappardelle

Put mussels in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Discard any that are open and won’t close when tapped or that have broken shells. Scrub off any debris and pull off beard. Keep chilled until needed.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat and add pasta. Cook until al dente, according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallots and sauté for 5 minutes, until tender and translucent. Pour in wine and bring to a boil.

Add mussels, cover and cook 2 minutes, just until the shells open up. Discard any that don’t open. Add kelp cream and cook for another 2 minutes, until warmed through. Stir in basil, dried kelp, lemon zest and juice and crushed red pepper (if using).

Drain pasta and stir it into pan of mussels. Transfer to a large serving bowl and serve family style.


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