I can’t think of any cuisine better suited for summer than fresh seafood. Sure, seafood is great in the dead of winter, but there is something so refreshing about sitting outside with a crisp beer and the catch of the day.
Maybe it’s a personal association—but I just think seafood tastes better in the Summer. I guess living in New England near the coast doesn’t hurt either…
If I had to guess, mussels served in a red sauce is probably one of the least popular ways to prepare mussels. Ironically, it’s the first way I started making mussels 3 or 4 years ago. Today, I think most restaurants are serving mussels in a creamy ale or wine sauce—which is a little lighter, and usually paired with pasta.
When it comes to mussels and red sauce, I usually opt for arrabbiata sauce. For those of you who don’t know, arrabbiata is a spicy Italian tomato/marinara sauce made with dried red chilies. It’s got a nice balanced spiciness that makes the mussels a little more interesting.
How to Cook Mussels in Red Sauce
Simmer mussels in a lidded saucepan with a jar of arrabbiata (or your favorite red sauce) for about 5 minutes on medium heat. The sauce will quickly cook/steam the mussels until they fully open. I like to stir them into the sauce at this point to let the sauce soak in.
Now to “spice up” (no pun intended), maybe the world’s simplest mussel recipe, I like to add minced garlic, chopped parsley, and a little cream. It gives the sauce a creamier texture and makes the dish a little more dynamic and elegant.
You can eat these mussels a main entrée or appetizer or serve it over linguine for a spicy seafood pasta dish. Both delicious, both super easy. I can’t think of a better way to prepare mussels in red sauce.Print
- 2 pounds mussels
- 1 16 ounce jar spicy arrabbiata sauce (or marinara sauce)
- ¼ cup cream or half and half
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1–2 garlic cloves, minced
- Rinse mussels under cool water. Discard any that do not fully close when rinsing or resting for 30 seconds (these are dead). Remove any beards if protruding from the shell.
- Combine all remaining ingredients in a covered saucepan, bring to a simmer (medium-high heat) and add the mussels. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened ¼ to ½ an inch.
- Stir and serve as an entree or over pasta if desired.