How to Eat Mussels in Pasta: A Simple Guide

If you’re a seafood lover, then you must add mussels to your list of favorites! Mussels are not only delicious, but also incredibly versatile, and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. One of the most popular dishes is mussels in pasta! If you’re looking to learn how to eat mussels in pasta, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll go over the basics of preparing, cooking, and incorporating mussels into an irresistible pasta dish.

how to eat mussels in pasta

Key Takeaways:

  • Mussels are a tasty shellfish that can be incorporated into a variety of dishes
  • Pasta is a versatile ingredient that pairs well with mussels
  • Preparation of mussels is essential for a safe and enjoyable dining experience
  • Sauce is the key element that brings the mussels and pasta together
  • There are several ways to incorporate mussels into your pasta dish

Getting Started: Preparing the Mussels

Before you can enjoy the deliciousness of mussels in your pasta, it’s crucial to prepare them properly. Here’s how:

  • Clean the mussels: Start by scrubbing the shells with a brush under cold, running water to remove any debris or barnacles. Discard any mussels that have broken shells or are open and won’t close after being tapped.
  • Debeard the mussels: Using a pair of kitchen scissors, remove the hairy “beard” from the side of each mussel. This step is essential to ensure that the mussels are safe and clean to consume.

Remember that mussels are a type of shellfish, and like all seafood, they require special care to prevent food poisoning. Always buy your mussels fresh from a reputable seafood market or grocery store and cook them within 24 hours of purchase.

Cooking the Perfect Pasta

Pasta is an essential component of any mussels pasta dish. It’s important to choose the right type of pasta that pairs well with mussels, such as linguine, spaghetti, or fettuccine.

Linguine is a long, thin pasta that’s perfect for mussels pasta because it allows the sauce to coat the pasta evenly. Spaghetti, on the other hand, is a classic choice that pairs well with various sauces, including marinara and white wine sauce. Fettuccine is a wider pasta that’s excellent for cream-based sauces.


To cook the perfect pasta, start by boiling a pot of salted water. Add the pasta to the water and stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking together.

It’s essential to cook the pasta to al dente, which means it should be cooked through but still firm to the bite. You can check if the pasta is al dente by tasting a piece.

Once the pasta is al dente, drain it and add it to the mussels and sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce and mussels, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Creating Delicious Mussel Pasta Sauce

Now that you have your pasta ready, it’s time to make the perfect sauce to complement your mussels in pasta dish. The sauce can make or break the overall flavor of your dish, so it’s essential to choose the right one.

Marinara Sauce

The classic marinara sauce is a popular choice for mussel pasta, and it’s easy to make. Here’s what you’ll need:

Diced tomatoes (canned)1 can (28 oz)
Tomato paste2 tablespoons
Garlic, minced4 cloves
Olive oil2 tablespoons
Red pepper flakes (optional)1/4 teaspoon
Salt and black pepperTo taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add garlic and red pepper flakes (optional), and saute until fragrant.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and black pepper. Stir well.
  3. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Your marinara sauce is ready to be poured over your mussels and pasta.

White Wine Sauce

If you’re looking for a lighter, creamier sauce for your mussels pasta dish, then the white wine sauce is a great option. Here’s what you’ll need:

Butter2 tablespoons
Garlic, minced4 cloves
All-purpose flour2 tablespoons
White wine1/2 cup
Heavy cream1/2 cup
Salt and black pepperTo taste


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add garlic, and saute until fragrant.
  2. Add the flour and stir until it becomes a paste.
  3. Slowly whisk in the white wine and heavy cream, stirring constantly until it thickens.
  4. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Your white wine sauce is now ready to be poured over your mussels and pasta, creating a creamy and luxurious flavor.

Incorporating Mussels into Your Pasta

Now that you have prepared the pasta and the sauce, it’s time to incorporate the mussels into your dish. Here, we’ll discuss different cooking methods for the mussels, including steaming, boiling, and simmering. Each method requires a different approach, so choose the one that works best for you and your recipe.

Steaming Mussels

Steaming is an excellent way to cook mussels and retain their natural flavor. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Place the mussels in a pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Add broth or water until it reaches a depth of 1 inch.
  3. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot.
  4. Steam the mussels until they open, which should take approximately 5-7 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and discard any mussels that have not opened.

Steamed mussels can be added to your pasta dish with or without the shells. It’s up to you and your preference!

Boiling Mussels

Boiling the mussels is another popular cooking method that is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  2. Add the mussels and cover the pot.
  3. Cook the mussels for 3-5 minutes or until they open.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and discard any mussels that have not opened.

boiling mussels

Boiled mussels can be incorporated with or without shells, as per your preference. Boiling also creates a delicious broth that can be added to the pasta to add more flavor.

Simmering Mussels

Simmering mussels is another excellent option, especially if you want to cook them in a flavorful broth. Here’s how:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add mussels and your choice of broth or white wine to the skillet and bring it to a simmer.
  4. Cover the skillet and let it cook for 5-7 minutes until the mussels open.
  5. Remove from heat and discard any mussels that haven’t opened.

Simmered mussels add a rich and flavorful broth to your pasta dish. You can remove the mussels from the shells and add them directly to your pasta or keep them in their shells and placed on top of the pasta.

Now that you know how to cook mussels using different methods, you’re ready to add them to your pasta dish. Whether you choose to steam, boil, or simmer the mussels, your dish will undeniably be packed with flavor and texture.


Congratulations! You have successfully completed our guide on how to eat mussels in pasta. By now, you have learned how to prepare the mussels, cook the perfect pasta, create delicious mussel pasta sauce, and incorporate the mussels into your pasta dish.

Now that you’ve mastered this culinary skill, the possibilities are endless. Feel free to experiment with different pasta shapes and cooking methods to create your own unique mussels pasta dish.

Remember to always use fresh, high-quality ingredients and follow food safety guidelines when preparing and cooking shellfish. With these tips in mind, you can enjoy a mouth-watering and satisfying seafood pasta dish that will impress your taste buds every time.