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Pasta with Mussels in San Marzano Tomato Sauce

Pasta with Mussels is an easy to prepare dish that makes a beautiful presentation. Choose from three San Marzano pasta sauces: Marinara, Tomato Basil, or Arrabbiata. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword how to cook mussels, pasta with mussels, san marzano pasta sauce
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 604kcal
Author Amanda Biddle


  • 2 pounds fresh mussels , cleaned and soaked, with tightly-closed shells (see note)
  • 12 ounces long pasta , such as spaghetti or linguine
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil , plus additional for drizzling
  • 24 ounces La San Marzano pasta sauce (1 jar: Marinara, Tomato Basil, or Arrabbiata)
  • chopped Italian parsley , for garnish


  • Cook pasta in salted, boiling water until "al dente." Drain.
  • While pasta is cooking, cook pancetta in olive oil in a large, wide pan until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. If the pancetta has rendered a lot of oil, drain it off so that you have about 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan.
  • Add your jarred La San Marzano pasta sauce of choice and bring to a simmer. Add mussels and toss to coat them in the sauce. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes, until the mussels' shells have opened. Start checking the mussels around 3-4 minutes, and use tongs to remove the open mussels to a bowl while the others continue to cook. Discard any mussels that do not open.
  • When all the mussels are cooked and removed from the pan, increase heat and simmer the sauce, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir pancetta back into the sauce and toss with the pasta.
  • Nestle mussels into the pasta. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve, sprinkled with fresh parsley.


For detailed info on buying, cleaning, and storing mussels, read my Fresh Mussels Guide.


  • Substitute 4 ounces diced chorizo sausage for the pancetta with the Arrabbiata Sauce.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to the Marinara or Tomato Basil Sauces for a wisp of heat.


Calories: 604kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 1414mg | Potassium: 1178mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 920IU | Vitamin C: 21.1mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 7.5mg