Steamed Mussels Italian-Style

This recipe makes a delicious prelude to a meal of pasta and seafood, but if you adjust the serving quantities and add a green salad and some crusty Italian bread to soak up the richly flavored juices, you have a complete meal.

A white serving bowl filled with steamed mussels, bits of tomato and onion, and chopped parsley.

Steamed Mussels Italian-Style

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Mussels steamed in garlic, onion and white wine is a classic preparation, full of flavor.


  • 2 lbs mussels, cleaned (see recipe notes)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


  • Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant. Stir in the crushed red pepper, the wine and the diced tomatoes. Turn up the heat and bring the liquid to a quick boil. Add the mussels, all at once and cover immediately. Cook for about 3 minutes, shaking the pan every 30 seconds or so to redistribute the mussels. Uncover and check to see if the majority of the mussels have opened. If not, cover again and continue to steam for another minute or so.
  • Once the mussels have opened, quickly transfer them to a serving bowl. Stir the breadcrumbs into the still simmering pan juices to thicken them slightly, add the parsley and pour the mixture over the mussels.

Tips for Making This Recipe

To clean the mussels, scrub the outer shell lightly with a soft brush, rinse thoroughly and drain. Trim away any tough brown fibers (known as the "beard") with a pair of kitchen shears. Keep refrigerated at all times.
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