Mussels are inexpensive, they cook in five minutes and they taste great – so they are perfect for a weeknight meal. In this recipe from the February 2013 issue of Bon Appetit, tomato sauce, white kidney beans and mussels are combined with cooked pasta to create satisfying meal that is ready in about 30 minutes. When using mussels, be sure to discard any raw mussels with broken or cracked shells and any that don’t fully close when you tap them with your finger. Don’t eat any cooked mussels from shells that don’t fully open.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Butter, canned tomatoes and white kidney beans may contain colour, additives or preservatives. Use a butter that has only cream as an ingredient, canned tomatoes with only salt added and canned kidney beans with no preservatives; I used PC Blue Menu brand.

Remove any stringy "beards" from the raw mussels and discard any that are broken or don't close when tapped

Brown garlic and hot pepper flakes

White kidney beans are also known as cannellini beans

Spaghetti with mussels and white beans


2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

4 garlic cloves, chopped

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

1 pound spaghetti

Kosher salt

1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed

1 cup dry white wine

2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded

¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


Heat butter and 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes with juices, crushing tomatoes lightly with your hands. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 ½ cups pasta cooking liquid.

Add beans and wine to sauce. Cook, stirring often, until wine has almost evapor-ated, about 4 minutes. Add mussels and ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cover; cook, stir-ring occasionally, until mussels open, about 4 minutes (discard any that do not open).

Add pasta and ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid to mussels and stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Divide among bowls. Drizzle with oil; garnish with parsley. Serves 6.

From the February 2013 issue of Bon Appetit