Cozze Ripiene al Sugo

Stuffed Mussels with Tomato Sauce


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is a very tasty way to enjoy fresh mussels. Use the biggest shellfish you can find, as the preparation - which involves tying shut the mussels - is more fiddly if the mussels are small. Clean them carefully, as any trace of grit or splinter of barnacle will spoil the effect of the whole dish.


  • 1 kg/2 ¼ lb live mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 600 ml/1 pint/2 ½ cups passata/bottled strained tomatoes or strained canned tomatoes
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 120 ml/8 tbsp soft white breadcrumbs
  • a small handful of fresh basil, leaves torn into shreds
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. Check the mussels, discarding any with damaged shells and any which are open and fail to close when tapped on the work surface.
  2. Spread out the mussels in a wide frying pan. Cover the pan and place it over a fairly high heat. Shake the pan frequently. After about 6 minutes, all the mussels should have opened and yielded their liquid. Discard any that remain closed.
  3. Drain the mussels, reserving the liquid in the pan, and set them aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a medium pan. Peel 2 garlic cloves and add them, whole, to the oil. Fry the garlic until it turns brown, then lift the cloves out with a slotted spoon and discard them.
  5. Stir the passata or strained tomatoes into the garlic-flavoured oil and season. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, make the stuffing. Chop the remaining garlic clove finely and put it in a bowl. Add the eggs, parsley and soft white breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper.

  7. Fill the empty half shell of each mussel with the stuffing, then close the shells around the mussels. Tie each one with a loop of kitchen string or twine to keep the stuffing securely inside.

  8. Strain the reserved liquid from the mussels and add it to the tomato sauce, with the basil.
  9. Stir to mix, then add the mussels to the pan and spoon the sauce over them. Cover the pan tightly and simmer for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove and discard the string from the mussels and transfer them, with the sauce, to a heated platter. Serve immediately.