Bertucci's Corporation, a casual-dining chain, owns a collection of full-service Italian restaurants that operate under the name "Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzeria." During the early years of the 21st century there were roughly 80 Bertucci's restaurants scattered throughout the northeastern United States, each of which featured wood-fired brick ovens, which cook hotter than conventional pizza ovens, and served Tuscan-styled food, including gourmet pizzas, salads, soups, seafood, and pasta dishes. Founded in suburban Boston by Joseph Crugnale, Bertucci's expanded quickly during the 1980s and 1990s, growing from a single restaurant in 1981 to a sprawling restaurant chain by the mid-1990s. N.E. Restaurant Co. Inc., Bertucci's owner since 1998, adopted the Bertucci's name in 2001.
Bertucci's Mussels Caruso
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons capers
1 teaspoons hot cherry peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup clam juice or fish stock
2 lbs. mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1/4 cup scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh oregano sprigs, for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the garlic, capers and hot peppers for 1 minute until the garlic is golden, not brown. Add the butter, and when it is melted, add the wine and clam juice. Simmer for 1 minute and then add the mussels. Cover the pan tightly and continue simmering until the mussels open. Mix in the scallions and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place individual portions in wide serving bowls. Garnish with oregano sprigs and serve with rustic bread for dipping.
When you buy mussels, test for freshness by making sure they're nice and heavy and their shells are firmly closed. Clean under cold running water. Remove any beards and barnacles. Discard any mussels that don't open during cooking.
For a red version of mussels Caruso, substitute one cup of tomato sauce for the clam juice or fish stock and the white wine.