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 spicy 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. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve seen a simple spicy arrabbiata sauce on a menu.
For those of you who don’t know, arrabbiata sauce is essentially a spicy tomato or red “pasta” sauce. You simply simmer the mussels in a lidded saucepan with arrabbiata sauce, as you would with water or any wine based sauce. The mussels soak up the flavors and become fully coated in a thick red sauce.
Now to “spice up” (no pun intended), maybe the world’s most basic recipe, I like to add minced garlic, chopped parsley, and cream. It gives the arrabbiata sauce a creamier texture and makes the dish a little more dynamic.
You can eat mussels arrabbiata as 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 a red sauce.
- 2 pounds mussels
- 1 16 ounce jar arrabbiata 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.
- Serve as an entree or over pasta if desired.