Mussels Marinara is a rare dish – it’s a fine dining staple that doubles as an easy, yet impressive weeknight dinner! This famous Italian seafood dish is one of my favorites, and I’m so excited to share this flavorful, bold recipe with you all. Treat yourself to the finer things by whipping up a big serving of this authentic mussels marinara tonight!

A plate of noodles is covered in marinara tossed mussels.

Mussels Marinara

For being such a recognizable fine dining Italian dish, mussels marinara is shockingly quick and easy to whip up! After you enjoy this classic dish in the comfort of your own home, you’ll probably think twice about going back to a five star restaurant and spending a pretty penny on what’s actually a quite simple dinner.

If you’re a seafood lover like I am, you’re really going to love how perfectly the mussels in this recipe are cooked! I love mussels cooked in several different styles, but this recipe is probably my favorite. When simmered in ingredients like dry white wine and whole garlic cloves, the mussels quickly adapt those strong notes and are rich with Italian inspired flavors.

While this dish can also be served with bread, I think it’s best over cooked linguine or spaghetti pasta. The pasta really mixes perfectly with the fresh seafood marinara sauce, and each twirl of pasta with a bite of mussel is better than the last.

Honestly, I cannot imagine spending what most upscale restaurants charge on mussels marinara now that I’ve mastered this recipe! It’s quick, easy, and always unbelievably delicious. Impress your dinner party guests with this remarkable seafood dinner!

Mussels are being cooked in a large black skillet.

How to Make It

This classic Italian dinner can be made in under 30 minutes! It’s fine dining, simplified to your home kitchen. And don’t worry, we’re not cutting any corners here – it’s really just this easy to make the best mussels marinara!

Heat. In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat.

Cook the onion and garlic. Time to make it deliciously fragrant! First, add the onion and cook until softened, which should only take approximately 4-5 minutes. Then, stir in the garlic cloves and cook for an additional 1 minute.

Add the vino. Pour in the wine and scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan.

Boil. Stir in the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, basil, and parsley. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Cook the mussels. Add the mussels to the boiling mixture, stirring everything to fully combine. Cover and cook until all the mussels are opened, approximately 10 minutes. Discard any broken or unopened mussels.

Serve. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with basil, if desired (I highly recommend it). Serve over pasta or with bread for dipping, and enjoy!

Two plates of mussels marinara are placed next to a skillet.

What kind of wine works best for mussels marinara?

As long as it’s a dry white wine, it’ll work wonderfully in this recipe. Just be sure to really spend time picking the perfect wine – if you accidentally choose a super sweet wine, you probably won’t like the outcome of your dish.

Typically, sauvignon blancs and chardonnays are the best dry white wines to use.

A fork is placed on a white plate filled with mussels and pasta.

How do I buy the best mussels?

First things first – avoid buying frozen mussels at all costs! I’ve used both, and I can say with full confidence that fresh mussels are always significantly better every time, both with flavor and texture.

At your local grocery store, the seafood section will more than likely have live cultured mussels, and those are the ones you’ll want! If you’re out of luck at the supermarket, head over to a fish market near you, and you’ll have much better luck at finding the best mussels.

If you want to double check that your mussels are good before cooking with them, simply tap them gently against the countertop. If they open or close on their own, they’re good to go! If there’s no movement at all, not even slowly, then the mussels are no longer good to eat.

A plate of mussels marinara is sprinkled with freshly cut basil.

Feeling fancy? Treat yourself to these other seafood classics!

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Mussels are being cooked in a large black skillet.

Get the Recipe: Mussels Marinara

Easy and quick Mussels Marinara is the restaurant worthy dinner you can easily make at home. So savory, hearty and classic.
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 32- ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 4 pounds fresh mussels, debearded, scrubbed and rinsed
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh basil, for garnish (optional)
  • Cooked pasta, for serving.

Equipment

  • skillet

Instructions 

  • Heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat in a heavy bottomed skillet.
  • Add the onion and cook until softened, approximately 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, basil and parsley. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the mussels and stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook until all the mussels are opened, approximately 10 minutes. Discard any broken or unopened mussels.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with basil, if desired.
  • Serve over pasta or with bread for dipping.

Notes

Mussels Marinara are best served immediately after cooking.
To store fresh mussels, place the mussels in a large bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Do not store mussels in a plastic bag because they will die.
Calories: 432kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 65mg, Sodium: 987mg, Potassium: 1588mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 1021IU, Vitamin C: 45mg, Calcium: 186mg, Iron: 13mg