Italian Mussels & Pasta

Italian Mussels & Pasta

This combination of mussels with plenty of garlic, parsley, saffron and white wine was inspired by the Venetian soup zuppa de peoci, which is usually ladled over sliced crusty bread. Here we serve it over pasta. For a more elegant presentation you can remove the mussels from their shells before serving…but then again, who wants to be elegant? Enjoy!

From EatingWell: May/June 2011
Yield: 4 servings
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes


  1. 8 ounces whole-wheat linguine or spaghetti
  2. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  4. 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil
  5. Big pinch of saffron threads (see Note), soaked in 2 tablespoons water or white wine
  6. 2 pounds mussels, cleaned (see Tips)
  7. 3/4 cup dry white wine
  8. Big pinch of crushed red pepper
  9. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  10. Freshly ground pepper to taste
  11. 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  12. 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (see Tips)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Cover to keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until it just begins to color, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully add crushed tomatoes and saffron with soaking liquid (the mixture may splatter) and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring mussels and wine to a boil in a Dutch oven (or other large pot) over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook until the mussels open, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the mussels with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. (Discard any unopened mussels.)
  4. Strain the mussel broth through a fine-mesh sieve into the tomato sauce. Stir in crushed red pepper and simmer over medium heat for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle about half the sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. Divide the pasta among 4 pasta bowls, top with mussels and spoon the remaining sauce over the mussels. Serve topped with parsley and lemon zest.

Tips & Notes


Nutrition Per Serving: 471 calories; 17 g fat (3 g sat, 11 g mono); 24 mg cholesterol; 56 g carbohydrates; 20 g protein; 9 g fiber; 452 mg sodium; 610 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Iron (39% daily value), Vitamin C (38% dv), Magnesium (31% dv), Vitamin A (24% dv), Folate (21% dv), Zinc (20% dv), Potassium (17% dv).

3 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 1/2 lean meat, 3 fat