Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Spaghetti with Mussels in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

Mussels with spicy tomato sauce, enjoy this tasty and easy dish to prepare . We have then shelled the mussels for convenience, you do as you prefer and yes, fresh ones are highly recommended, but without being too picky, why deny yourself this dish if you only have frozen ones? Use your favorite ones and mostly what you have to hand.

Serves 2, Preparation 20 mins, Cooking time 30 mins

  • 160g Spaghetti or Linguine
  • 500g fresh or frozen mussels
  • 400g tomato sauce
  • A sprig of fresh, chopped parsley
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • A chili pepper
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Half a glass of dry white wine
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – EVOO, 2 tbsp


You will need 2 pots: one for tomato sauce and the other one for mussels.

For the tomato sauce: in a pan heat a spoonful of EVOO, add a clove of crushed garlic and the chili pepper and let them both sizzle for a few mins. Add the tomato sauce and cook for about 15-20 minutes at most over low heat.

For the mussels: in another pan put a spoonful of EVOO to heat and add the other peeled garlic clove. Heat the oil, then throw the mussels in the pan. Turn up the heat and pour half a glass of white wine. Stir and cover with a lid, mussels will open almost immediately. Shell them one by one.

Tip: do not try to open the closed ones that did not open during cooking, leave them to their fate. Mussels as well as clams open with heat because they are alive, those that remain closed is because they were dead and you do not know how long, so it is appropriate not to eat them. Needless to say this is not about the pre-shelled ones.

Strain the broth they have released with a narrow mesh strainer and keep it ready to add to the tomato sauce.

Add the mussels’ broth to the tomato sauce, stir well.

Tip: salt addition is pretty unnecessary since the mussel water is already quite tasty.

Bring the water for the spaghetti to the boil and add very little salt.

When the tomato sauce is ready, turn off the heat and add both mussels and chopped parsley.

Drain spaghetti possibly al dente, then pour it into the pan. Mix everything together and sauté the pasta in the pan for a minute. Serve.

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