“It’s hugely popular to pair mussels with andouille or chorizo,” says Aaron Cuschieri, the executive chef at the Dearborn, a new upscale tavern in the Loop. “But nduja is this really cool spreadable spicy sausage that just melts into the sauce. So I said, ‘Let’s make mussels in a broth that tastes like sausage.’ ” And we say, “Bravo!”

Aaron Cuschieri’s Pan-Roasted Mussels with Nduja

Serves:1 to 2
Active Time:10–15 minutes

1 tsp. Olive oil
1 lb. Mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 tsp. Minced garlic
½ cup White wine
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. Nduja (available at Olivia’s Market and Mariano’s)
1 Tbsp. Minced parsley
  Toasted baguette (optional)

1. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat, add the oil and the mussels to pan. Stir for 1 minute and add garlic. Stir another minute.

2. Add the wine and cover pan. Cook until the mussels have opened (5 to 6 minutes); discard any that didn’t.

3. Add the butter and the nduja, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Stir until the nduja disperses into the liquid. Cook, uncovered, until a coarse sauce forms (about 2 minutes). Sprinkle with parsley, and serve with a baguette for sopping.