Pasta con le Cozze – Pasta with Mussels

Visiting south Italy has been always our dream but for some reason, despite travelling quite a lot while we were working on the cruise ships, we have never managed to reach this part of the world… So when we were asked by James Villas Holidays to take part in their #MyHolidayDish challenge and try one of their recipes: pasta with mussels from Puglia in Italy, we simply could not say no.

We were very surprised how quick and easy it was to prepare this classic dish! It took  us less than 30 minutes from the time we started cleaning the mussels to having ready dish on the plates.

Below recipe has been created for James Villas Holidays by Jo Pratt, author of “In the Mood for Healthy Food” (more about her book in Tried & Tested later this month) and it goes very well with some white wine and an episode or two of Inspector Montalbano.

Click through for the original recipe with video – Pasta con le cozze (pasta with mussels).

easy mussels recipe


  • 400 g Italian pasta shapes (we used amori pasta)
  • 1 kg mussels in shells
  • Italian extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled, chopped)
  • generous pinch of chilli flakes
  • glass of dry white wine (125 ml)
  • 400 g cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • large handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

how to cook fresh mussels


  1. First wash the mussels in cold water, pull of any straggly beards and discard any mussels that remain open.
  2. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente.
  3. Heat a large lidded saucepan or wide pot with generous splash of oil, garlic and chilli flakes, fry for about a minute.
  4. Add tomatoes squeezing them in hand to release their juices.
  5. Increase the heat and once tomatoes are starting to soften add also mussels and wine, toss and cover.
  6. Cook for few minutes until the mussels have opened.
  7. Drain the pasta keeping back some of the cooking water.
  8. Toss the pasta into the mussels adding a bit of the cooking water if the sauce is too thick.
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Add also parsley.
  11. Cover back with the lid and leave on a low heat for about a minute.
  12. Share into bowls discarding any mussels that remain closed.
  13. Drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and enjoy.

Serves 4. 

mussels with garlic and parsley Italian recipe


If you are looking for more holiday dish inspirations check out this Cypriot Pork Souvlaki from Eat Cook Explore, Whole Baked Sea Bass with  Olives and Tahini Sauce from Recipes from a Pantry or Cypriot-inspired, Intensely Flavourful Halloumi Pasta from A Mummy Too.

DISCLOSURE: We have been commissioned by James Villa Holidays to try this recipe. All opinions expressed here are our own and we retained full editorial control.

Your thoughts…

  1. Ohh I love seafood pasta!!! I bet it tastes amazing! And I also don’t know why but I never visited Italy before, although I travel quite often and have visited most countries in Europe.

  2. Absolutely beautiful! I love mussels and your pictures just made super hungry (and it’s 1am arghhh!!!!). Pinned :)

  3. Such a pretty dish. I love the styling against the blue – looks great.

  4. I think mussels are so underated. I love them and this dish looks great!

  5. Diana, I think it is also the language… we tend to travel the most to places where we can communicate, I think we need to learn some Italian first and then book James Villas Holidays :)

    Thank you Keto, much appreciated!!! :)

    Emily, thank you, I love my blue table top, painted it myself with acrylic paint.

    Jemma, so true. It is probably because they seem like a lot of work but they are not, we were amazed how quick and easy the whole process was.

  6. Lovely Margot and I expect you are quite spoilt with lovely fresh fish by the sea. I hope you get to visit southern Italy soon.

  7. This looks really tasty. I love your photos, so striking!

  8. Yes, there is fish market not so far away in Shoreham but those mussels came from Waitrose actually, I was surprised to find fresh mussels so easily in the supermarket… never noticed them before.

    Thank you Becca!! :)

  9. This looks such a perfect but “treat-like” midweek meal. Your interpretation of Jo’s recipe looks fab.

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