Peppery Red Mussels with Linguini

Mussels produce the most delicious broth, so they are great in sauce and soups. Today, most mussels that you buy commercially are farm-raised and don’t have shaggy beards and lots of sand. Also called mussels fra diavolo, this dish is wonderful for a family dinner or an elegant supper.

Serves: 6Hands-on: 15 minutesTotal: 25 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 6


  • 3 lbs. fresh mussels
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1½ Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


  • Scrub the mussels to remove the fibrous hair, or beard, then tap them together and listen for a sharp click. Discard any that sound hollow.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Keep warm.
  • While the pasta cooks, heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion 5 minutes. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, wine, tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add mussels to the saucepan and increase heat to medium-high. Return to a boil; as soon as the mussels start to open, use tongs to put them over the pasta. Throw away any mussels that do not open. Pour the sauce over the mussels and pasta and top with parsley.