A white dish with pasta and mussels on a dark blue wooden table
Photography, Stephen Harris

Tagliatelle With Mussels and Tomato Sauce

Pasta, PEI-style.

No one knows mussels like the Farmers and Fishers of Prince Edward Island. This satisfying pasta dish uses a tomato-basil sauce to highlight one of the province’s favourite foods.

A white dish with pasta and mussels on a dark blue wooden table

Tagliatelle With Mussels and Tomato Sauce

Pasta with steamed mussels, and tomato basil sauce.
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Canadian, Italian
Servings 4


  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 lbs mussels rinsed and debearded
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can (786ml) whole tomatoes
  • 5 sprigs fresh basil divided
  • dried red chili flakes
  • ¾ lb tagliatelle


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • In a large pot with a lid, bring wine and ¼ cup of water to a boil. Once boiling, add mussels. Cover and cook mussels for 5 to 6 minutes, shaking the pot to stir the mussels a few times. Once most of the mussels have opened, transfer mussels to a bowl to cool. Strain cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.
  • In the same pot used to cook the mussels, melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 12 to 14 minutes until onions begin to soften, stirring often. Deglaze the pan with 1⁄2 cup reserved mussel liquid. Add whole tomatoes to the pot (breaking up the tomatoes with your hands as you add them), 2 sprigs of basil and a pinch of dried chili flakes. Bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until onions are completely soft and the sauce has thickened.
  • Once the mussels have cooled, discard any unopened mussels. Remove meat from half the shells, discard empty shells and keep remaining mussels intact. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water, cooking until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta, add to the pot with tomato sauce and stir in reserved mussels and shells. Toss together then season with salt and pepper. Add reserved mussel liquid if needed.
  • Serve in large pasta bowls. Tear fresh basil leaves over top and sprinkle with dried chili flakes if desired.
Keyword mussels

A cookbook cover in a light frame.

Excerpted from Canada’s Food Island: A Collection of Stories and Recipes from Prince Edward Island by Farmers and Fishers of Prince Edward Island. Photography by Stephen Harris. Stories and captions by Stuart Hickox. Copyright © 2022 by Lobster Fishers of PEI. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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