Cozze e Salsa Rossa -- Mussels in Red Sauce




2 cans (1-3/4 lb. each) Italian plum tomatoes, with juice
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lg. onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, mined coarsely
2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste
1-1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
2 tsp. parsley
4 lbs. fresh mussels
Salt & Pepper to taste


Preparation of mussels:
emove the beard that usually is attached to the mussel, if the fishmonger has not already done so. Scrub the mussels with a stiff brush and rinse well under cold water.

Reserve the juice of the tomatoes, and coarsely chop the plum tomatoes; set aside in a bowl, with the juice. In a stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the, onion and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until limp and translucent, not brown. Add the tomato paste and cook, for a few minutes, stirring constantly so that the paste does not burn. (It will burn quickly.) Add wine, tomatoes and juice, salt and pepper. Add oregano, parsley and basil. Bring to a rapid boil, then lower heat and simmer for about ½ hour to allow the flavors to mingle and the tomatoes to cook.

Bring heat up to a strong simmer or low boil, and add mussels. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, covered. Shake the pan to ensure even cooking of the mussels, do not uncover. Check after 10 minutes. All the mussels should be open. They are done. Discard any that did not open. Serve immediately in bowls with plenty of sauce and crusty Italian bread to “sop up” the tasty sauce.

Author's Comments

This is a fairly quick way to prepare mussels in a tasty and flavorful manner. If it is from the sea, it is cooked in Sicily! Loads of seafood recipes come from that island, and some
even dated long before the Italian’s annexed Sicily. Remember, it was occupied by the Greeks . . . Goths . . . Moroccans . . . French . . . Spanish . . . and the Sicilian manner of
cooking reveals little traces of each occupation . . . all to the eaters delight, I might add.

From my cookbook: The "Old Country" Italian Cookbook, by Donald J.P. LaMarca

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