Mussels with Spicy Pasta Sauce

Seafood. Tomato Sauce. Pasta. Can’t get any better than that. My favorite! The taste of the sea in a pasta sauce. And those meaty, sweet morsels of mussels.

AND so easy!

This is my family’s seafood sauce that we use for mussels, clams, shrimp, lobster, or blue-claw crab.

Fresh mussels? Usually not hard to find in stores. Costco has some wonderful ones from Prince Edward Island.

Here’s how I clean them.

Rinse each one under cool water to remove any grit. And debearding…do you know about that? Mussels grow clinging together on seaweed. Sometimes some of the seaweed stays attached. You can find it at the edge of the mussel. Simply grab it in your fingers, and pull it off. Not every mussel has this– and it’s really not hard to do at all.

And, typically, for Italian seafood pasta dishes, grated cheese is eschewed! The better topping is crunchy toasted breadcrumbs.

See the recipes below for some tasty (and as spicy as you like) seafood sauce. Enjoy that taste of the ocean!

Pasta and Mussels in Spicy Tomato Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1.5 teaspoons dried oregano

3 teaspoons, minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

3 dozen (or more) fresh mussels, rinsed clean & debearded

1/2 lb. linguine or spaghetti

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan until hot. Add garlic, oregano, parsley, and pepper flakes. Saute until garlic softens and starts to color, about 1-2 minutes. Add the wine. Cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes. stir to combine. Season with salt and black pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, bring a pasta of water to a boil. Season liberally with salt. Add pasta, stir to keep strands apart until the water comes back to a boil. When you add pasta to water, add mussels and shrimp to sauce. Cover and cook on medium heat. The steam will open the mussels.

When pasta is done, drain and add to a serving bowl. When mussels have all opened (discard mussels that won’t open), add mussels and sauce to pasta. Stir to combine. Serve with toasted breadcrumbs for sprinkling.

Toasted breadcrumbs

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

4-5 tablespoons olive oil

salt to taste 

Add crumbs and olive oil to a small frying pan. Stir to combine. Heat until crumbs are toasted. Season with salt.

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