Mussels Fra Diavalo


F&W contributing editor Andrew Zimmern recommends using plump, wild Mediterranean mussels from Maine or Penn Cove mussels from the Pacific Northwest in this recipe. Simple and elegant, it's a classic summer dish that is best served with lots of crusty bread for dipping.Slideshow:Mussels

Mussels Fra Diavalo
Photo: Photo © Madeleine Hill
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hr



  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 medium onion, minced

  • 1 basil sprig

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • Sugar

  • One 28-ounce can tomato puree, preferably Italian

  • Pepper


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup minced shallot

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded

  • Chopped parsley, for serving

  • Crusty bread, for serving


Make the Sauce

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, basil, garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, tomato paste and a generous pinch of sugar and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree and bring just to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Make the Mussels

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the shallot, garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Stir in the mussels, cover and cook until the mussels open, 3 to 5 minutes; discard any mussels that do not open. Season lightly with salt, then transfer the mussels and sauce to a platter. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve right away with crusty bread.

Make Ahead

The tomato sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

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