Pasta with Mussels

4.71 from 27 votes
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Pasta with mussels is a delicious linguine recipe made in a creamy garlic butter and white wine sauce. The result is a light and creamy pasta dish that’s flavored with white wine (or dry sparkling wine), shallots, garlic, mussels, and fresh basil. This is one of the easiest recipes to make and it’s perfect for date night or special occasions.

A golden fork with twirled linguini in a creamy pasta sauce with mussels.

If you’ve never made mussels before they are incredibly easy to make. They’re usually cooked by steaming in a covered saucepan with a broth such as beer, cream, wine, or water. This simple broth can be flavored with garlic, butter, and herbs. It only takes 5 minutes!

For this recipe, the mussels are simmered in wine, garlic, shallot, and cream and then tossed with parmesan cheese and your pasta of choice. The texture is rich without being overly heavy.

If you enjoyed this recipe, try my mussels in red sauce recipe or my easy beer-steamed mussels. If you’re looking for more delicious pasta recipes, try my mussels and squid ink pasta!

Why This Recipe Works

The key ingredient to creamy pasta sauces is whipping cream. Whipping cream has a higher fat content so it can be heated without it separating or coagulating. When you simmer whipping cream for 5 minutes, the water will evaporate, thickening the fat content left behind.

Shallot, garlic, and dry sparkling wine add a fantastic flavor and unbeatable fragrance that will stick to the sauce and enhance every bite. It’s one of my favorite seafood recipes!

Ingredients

Uncooked, raw pasta and mussels ingredients laid out on a wooden cutting board.
  • Mussels: I usually use P.E.I. mussels (Prince Edward Island) because they’re delicious and readily available. You can also make this recipe with clams (check out my creamy beer steamed clams recipe).
  • Linguine or spaghetti: I prefer linguine but spaghetti works well too. You can ultimately use any pasta you prefer, even tubular pasta.
  • White wine or dry sparkling wine: this is a great opportunity to use old wine or an opened bottle of sparkling wine that has been sitting in the fridge. Champagne or Prosecco works great!
  • Shallot: shallot is like the garlic of onions. It’s very flavorful and fragrant. It’s fantastic in pasta dishes because it’s sweeter than most onions and not as pungent.
  • Garlic: finely mince or use a microplane for a very fine paste-like consistency.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes: crushed pepper or red chili flakes add a pinch of flavor. This can be omitted if you don’t have any.
  • Whipping cream or heavy cream: always use whipping cream or heavy cream because it will thicken when simmered. You can’t achieve the right consistency with light cream or half and half.
  • Grated parmesan cheese: I always opt for a block of cheese that I can shred myself. Pre-grated cheese lacks freshness and is treated with preservatives that prevent proper melting.
  • Fresh basil: basil can be a substitute for fresh parsley if you don’t like it. I like how it adds fresh herb flavor to the final dish.
  • Olive oil/butter: I use a combination of olive oil and butter to soften the garlic and shallot and add flavor. You can use one or the other if you don’t have both.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

How to Cook Mussels in White Wine

Step 1.

Rinse mussels under cool water and remove beards if any (image 1a). Discard damaged shells or any that do not fully close on their own when rinsing or gently tapping on the counter. These are dead and should not be consumed (image 1b).

Uncooked mussels in a metal bowl.
A hand holding an open, uncooked "dead" mussel prior to cooking.

Quick Tip

When you buy mussels at the store, they’re, in fact, alive. Don’t seal the bag or they will suffocate.

Step 2.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a big pinch of salt, and cook linguine a little firmer, just before al dente.

Linguini cooking in boiling water

Step 3.

Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a large covered saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook garlic and shallots until fragrant, about 1 minute (image 3a). Add wine/sparkling wine, red pepper flakes, and cream. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer (image 3b).

Oil, butter, minced shallot, and minced garlic simmering in a Dutch oven.
A creamy white wine sauce/broth for mussels starting to cook in a Dutch oven.

Step 4.

Add mussels, give a quick stir, cover, and let simmer for about 5 minutes (image 4a). When the shells open up on their own, they’re fully cooked (image 4b).

Uncooked mussels floating in a creamy wine based broth.
Cooked mussels simmering in a creamy wine-based broth in a Dutch oven.

Step 5.

Strain and add the linguini and the parmesan cheese to the mussels, tossing to mix in the sauce (image 5a). Simmer uncovered for about 5-7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the sauce thickens and coats the shells and pasta (image 5b).

Cooked linguini in a Dutch oven over mussels in a creamy wine broth.
A finished dish of creamy linguini in a cream and wine based pasta sauce with steamed mussels in a Dutch oven.

Quick tip

The pool of liquid in the bottom of the pan will slowly dissipate as the sauce thickens. Be patient and keep the pasta moving to prevent burning. It’s ready when the liquid is nearly gone.

Step 6.

Serve topped with fresh basil, more parmesan cheese, and a few mussels.

Creamy pasta topped with mussels, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil on a grey plate.
How do I tell if mussels are fully cooked?

When the mussels are finished cooking, their shells will open up. If the majority of the shells have opened (usually 4-5 minutes), they’re likely all cooked.

How do I tell if mussels have gone bad?

If mussels don’t close on their own when rinsed or tapped on the counter, they’re likely dead. Mussels should have a mild oceanic or salty smell (if overly fishy, they’re likely bad).

How do you eat mussels?

Use a fork to remove the meat from inside the shell. Everything but the shell can be consumed.

More Shellfish Recipes

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this recipe, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
4.71 from 27 votes

Pasta with Mussels Recipe

Servings: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Mussels over pasta with a light, yet creamy white wine sauce made with garlic, butter, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and cream. Tossed with linguine and simmered until creamy.

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 pounds mussels, rinsed
  • 12-14 ounces linguine or spaghetti
  • 3/4 cup white wine or dry sparkling wine
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
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Instructions 

  • Rinse mussels under cool water and remove beards if any, discard any that do not fully close when rinsing (these are dead).
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a big pinch of salt, and cook linguine a little firmer, just before al dente.
  • Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a large covered saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook garlic and shallots until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine/sparkling wine, red pepper flakes, and cream. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.
  • Add mussels, give a quick stir, cover, and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until all the shells open up on their own.
  • Strain and add the linguini and the parmesan cheese to the mussels, tossing to mix in the sauce. Simmer uncovered for about 5-7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the sauce thickens and coats the shells and pasta.
  • Serve topped with fresh basil, more parmesan cheese, and a few mussels.

Notes

When you buy mussels at the store, they’re, in fact, alive. Don’t seal the bag or they will suffocate.
If mussels don’t close on their own when rinsed or tapped on the counter, they’re likely dead. Mussels should have a mild oceanic or salty smell (if overly fishy, they’re likely bad).
The pool of liquid in the bottom of the pan will slowly dissipate as the sauce thickens. Be patient and keep the pasta moving to prevent burning. It’s ready when the liquid is nearly gone.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 603kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 35.3gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11.8gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 625mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Tried this recipe?Mention @kitchenswagger or tag #kitchenswagger!

About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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Recipe Rating




54 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I added some red bell pepper, artichokes, and capers to the dish to give it a little bit more color brininess and it was absolutely delicious

  2. 5 stars
    Shawn I made it last nite and the sauce danced off my tongue. I was wondering if you can make it with shrimp?

  3. 5 stars
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!!!! Made it tonight and it was such a delicious meal for my husband and I. Do NOT omit or substitute cream because this is what will make this pasta such a great dish after all ☺️

  4. 5 stars
    I made this last nite for my boyfriend. We loved it! I cut out the heavy cream for fat free half and half…it was delish!

    “Restaurant worthy” according to my guy!
    Love it ❤

  5. Sean I am trying your recipe looks great got it done but while reading it on my notebook that ads keep getting in the way hope you’re making money on them we’ll get back to you on how it tastes later