Pasta con Le Cozze

Pasta with Mussels


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is one of the easiest ways to enjoy the delicious combination of pasta with shellfish. The recipe is a famous speciality of Campomarino, a seaside resort on the Ionian coast in the province of Salento in Puglia. Mussels are extremely popular in the area, and the locals like to eat them raw with just a squeeze of lemon juice. In this recipe, they are flavoured almost as simply, with oil, garlic and parsley, and cooked briefly in a frying pan.


  • 500 g/ lb live mussels or cooked mussels in their shells
  • 350 g/12 oz dried maccheroncini or spaghetti
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 400 g/14 oz chopped and seeded ripe tomatoes, drained
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. If using fresh mussels, check them and discard any that are not tightly closed, or that do not snap shut when tapped on the work surface. Scrub all the mussels carefully and rinse them thoroughly.

  2. Place the cleaned mussels in a wide frying pan. Cover the pan and place over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes, shaking the pan frequently, until the mussels have opened. Any mussels that have not opened after this time should be discarded.
  3. Remove all the mussels from the open shells, wipe off any traces of sand or sediment, and set them aside. Discard the shells.

  4. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and add the dried pasta. Stir, return to the boil and cook for 12-14 minutes or until just tender.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic and parsley. Fry for about 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes.
  6. Season well, stir, and cook over a high heat for about 8 minutes. Stir in the mussels.

  7. Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the pan containing the mussels and tomatoes. Stir to coat the pasta in the sauce, then serve in warmed bowls.