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How to Cook Fresh Mussels – Mussels with White Wine and Garlic

My step by step video on how to make this recipe!

Mussels are inexpensive and exciting to cook! They steam quickly too, making for a quick dinner to the table in minutes. The ingredients I’ve used in this recipe are pretty common, and most are interchangeable. If you don’t like spicy, leave out the chili flakes. You can leave the parsley out or use something like scallion tops.

You can use any white wine that is on the dryer side. Anything you like to drink is usually a good guideline, but stay away from anything sweet. I like sauvignon blanc, so that’s what I’m using here.

It is important to note that when you purchase these fresh, your grocery store should pack them with ice and you should keep them on ice until you are ready to cook them.

Before you make the recipe, give them a rinse in cold water and “debeard” them. The mussel will have a “beard” that looks like a fuzzy bunch of string, and all you do is yank it out. Live mussels are naturally closed if they are living. If they are slightly open, and you poke them and the shell closes, this means they are still living and are okay. I’m saying this because if you go through this recipe and find that at the end there are some that did not open, these are no good to eat and should be thrown away.

  • Mussels – 1lb fresh, debearded
  • Olive Oil – 2 tbl
  • Onion – 1/4 cup, small dice
  • Garlic – 6 cloves, minced
  • Chili Flakes – 1 tsp
  • White Wine – 1 cup
  • Parsley – 1/4 cup, minced
  • Butter – 3 tbl+
  • Pasta – 1/2lb
  • S&P

Heat olive oil over medium high heat and saute onion about one minute until slightly brown around edges. Add mussels, then garlic and cook until the garlic softens about two minutes. Add chili flakes, then white wine and cover.

Steam the mussels for about 3 minutes or until most of them are popped open. If most of them are popped open, discard the closed ones, then remove the open ones from the pan and set aside. Turn the heat to medium and swirl the butter in the white wine to incorporate.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta in salted boiling water. When the pasta is about 80% cooked, throw it into the pan with the wine sauce and continue to cook until the sauce is thick and coats the noodles nicely. If the noodles need more time, add some pasta water to thin out the sauce and keep cooking. The starch in the water will thicken the sauce eventually, but this will buy you time. You can also add more butter if you’d like.

Serve immediately.


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