Italian mussels Taranto

Cozze alla tarantina, better known as Italian mussels are ready in 10 minutes. That's why this flavorful dish is great as a weekday meal.

15 minutes 2 people Main course
Italian mussels Taranto


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  • 2 kg mussels
  • 2 red peppers
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 2 cans of tomatoes
  • pepper and salt to taste
  • optional: chopped parsley for garnish
Italian mussels Taranto ingredients
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Kitchen equipment

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  • Mussels pan or Dutch oven with a lid
  • cutting board & chef's knife
  • oven mitts


15 minutes 2 people Main course

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Mussels and food safety

Tip: Mostly they say 1 kg is enough for 1 person, some even say 1,5 kg per person.

A little word of advice: there is very little risk when handling mussels that are freshly purchased. Before cooking, in preparation, check every mussel. Proper mussels should be tightly closed. 

Discard any mussels that are cracked or broken. If a mussel is open, tap it against the counter. Tapping triggers a reaction, so live mussels will close their shell immediately.

If a mussel does not close after tapping, discard it. It already has died and there is a higher risk of eating already dead mussels. Simply follow your instincts and remember this: Before cooking: shell closed After cooking: shell opened.

This basically means that you can skip eating the mussels that are still tightly shut, even after cooking.

Preparation -- 5 minutes

Finely CHOP the garlic and red peppers. Check the mussels and clean them under cold running water to get rid of any sand. 

Italian mussels Taranto
Italian mussels Taranto

Cooking the Italian mussels -- 10 minutes

PLACE the mussels pan on medium-high heat. HEAT olive oil and ADD chopped garlic and red peppers. Add the white wine and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and 

TURN up the heat to maximum and let boil for a few minutes until the tomatoes are really hot. Season with pepper and salt. Add the cleaned mussels into the pan with the tomato mixture.

PLACE the lid on the pan and cook the mussels for just 5 minutes. It really does not need more cooking time, that’s why mussels make a great weekday meal! Shake the pan a few times using the oven mitts, while keeping the lid on tight using your hands.

This might require a little practice. If you are unsure about shaking the entire pan, quickly turn the mussels over using a wooden spoon.

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