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Mussels Marinara (Mussels with Tomato Sauce)

Serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as an appetizer

I love seafood and shellfish is among my favorites. This recipe is much quicker and easier than it appears. Mussels marinara can be used as a main dish served with pasta for the extra sauce, or as an appetizer with good crusty bread to soak up the juices. The recipe can be made in any amount needed.

Ingredients

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute. Add the tomatoes, wine and seasonings; cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Add the mussels and stir well. Cover the pan and cook until the shells have opened, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally to mix the mussels with the sauce. Remove the mussels and place in large serving bowls, discarding any that did not open. Spoon sauce over the mussels. If serving as a main dish, serve with a side dish of pasta, such as angel hair or linguine, with some of the sauce on the pasta. Be certain to place empty plates or bowls on the table for the mussel shells.

Notes: Before cleaning the mussels, make certain they are still alive. If the shell is opened slightly, tap on it and it should close. Give it a little time as some move very slowly. If it does not move at all, discard it. Farm-raised mussels require very little cleaning and usually do not have a beard. Rinse them with cold water and, if you find any beards, remove them by pulling them out. After cooking, discard any mussels that do not open.