This summer dish hails from southern Italy, a region with distinctive flavors that tend to be lighter and slightly spicier than in other parts of the country. Sweet, fresh San Marzano tomatoes make a wonderful, flavorful sauce for this recipe, but any simple canned tomato sauce will work as well. Aside from this, fresh ingredients are the key to making excellent spaghetti with mussels: fresh garlic, parsley, and of course, mussels are all a must.
Spaghetti pasta with mussels is a classic and a perfect end of summer, al fresco dinner. I made it today in the classic tradition of freshness and simplicity. When in Italy, we have our fishmonger who provides the freshest seafood possible. Here in America, you have to make sure that all of your seafood is fresh off the boat. The mussels must be alive and smell like the ocean, or don’t bother to make this dish.
Throughout Italy, there are a few slight alterations of this recipe, but today I made Nonna’s traditional Sicilian dish, which is common along the coast of Sicily. The freshest mussels, garlic, white wine, and a little bit of tomato and fresh parsley, is all that makes this dish delicious.
Simple, sweet and refreshing, spaghetti with mussels is one of my favorite summer classics, and I hope it becomes one of yours too!
This mussels with pasta recipe is an ideal recipe for the summer. It's fresh and easy to make, serve it with a Greco or a Verdicchio white wine.
- 2 1/2 lbs mussels cleaned and beard-free
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp pureed tomato sauce (do not use tomato paste)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb thick spaghetti
In a large skillet, sauté the garlic in the olive oil for about 1 minute, or until pale golden.
Add the pureed tomato sauce and cook on medium heat for an additional 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat and set aside.
Put the mussels in a large pot with the white wine, cover with a lid, and put on high heat to open up and release their water.
When they open, remove the mussels from the liquid and filter the mussel’s liquid through a sieve.
Transfer the filtered liquid into the tomato sauce and add the mussels.
Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally.
One minute before the pasta is al dente, turn on the heat under the mussels to medium-high.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Add the pasta to the mussels and stir to coat.
Add some of the reserved water if necessary.