• Andrew Zimmern Cooks: Mussels Fra Diavolo


Braised Shellfish 101

By Andrew Zimmern

Mussels fra diavolo is a classic, simple shellfish braise loaded with tomato sauce, shallots, garlic and lots of parsley. Be sure to serve with plenty of crusty bread, because the scarpetta, or the ritual of mopping up the remaining sauce in the bowl, is one of the great moments of eating a dish like this.

Watch Andrew make this recipe:

Mussels Fra Diavolo

Servings: 6



  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1 basil sprig
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Kosher salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • One 28-ounce can tomato puree
  • Pepper


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1/4 cup shallot, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • Baguette, for serving


Make the Sauce

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, onion, basil, a pinch of chile flake and oregano. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and sugar. Add the tomato paste and tomato puree. Stir to combine and simmer over moderately low heat for 20 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Braise the Mussels

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, chile flakes, shallots and wine. Add 8 ounces of the tomato sauce, reserving any leftovers for another use. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the mussels and cover the pot. Carefully shake the pan to evenly distribute the sauce and cook for 1 minute. Add the parsley and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan every 45 seconds.

While the mussels are cooking, toast slices of baguette drizzled with olive oil on a preheated grill, grill pan or cast iron skillet.

When the mussels are cooked through, place in a bowl with the sauce. Serve with the crusty bread.

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