Mussels with Spicy Vodka Tomato Sauce

Mussels in Vodka Tomato Sauce

I always forget how ridiculously easy mussels are to make. They cook in hardly any time at all. They’re great in pastas, sans-shell in soups, even chilled with some seafood sauce, but, best of all? They’re cheap! A couple Sundays ago, I wanted a quick and easy dinner, so thought mussels would be the way to go. This vodka tomato sauce would also be pretty stellar on some spaghetti with some homemade meatballs. Just saying…

If you’re not a booze hound like me, feel free to leave the vodka out. It just adds a nice little kick to the sauce.

What you’ll need…

1 TBSP butter

2 cloves garlic

1 yellow onion (finely chopped)

1 12.5 0z canned tomatoes (I use Scarpone’s Fire Roasted Tomatoes)

2 TBSP vodka

1 TSP cayenne pepper

2 TSP smoked paprika

1 TSP cane sugar

1 12.5 oz can artichoke hearts (drained, quartered)

1 meyer lemon (zest and juice)

1 lb fresh mussels

1 TBSP fresh parsley (garnish, optional)

salt and pepper

warm bread (for soaking up the sauce, optional)



Start by melting the butter in a large pan. Add in the garlic and chopped onion and cook on medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Next, pour in the canned tomatoes, vodka, cayenne, paprika and sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce to medium heat and let cook,uncovered, for 20 minutes.

After simmering, add the chopped artichoke hearts, lemon zest and juice to the sauce and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. After 5 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Finally, turn to medium-high heat, toss in the mussels, cover and cook until the shellfish pop open, about 3-4 minutes. Pour the piping hot mussels and sauce into a large serving platter and devour with friends. So good!

Serves 2-3

Total cook time…30 min

5 Comments to “Mussels with Spicy Vodka Tomato Sauce”

  • Bernice April 7, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Great dish! I’ve been looking for a decent vodka sauce for a while and my kids like it a touch spicy. I’ll have to give this one a try for sure.

  • Amanda April 8, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Where do you buy your mussels? Are the ones in Safeway or Co-Op ok, or do I need to trek all the way to a T&T or Billingsgate? Do you buy the bulk ones or the ones in the little mesh bags?

  • Misty April 8, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Now craving a loaf of bread and a pot of these mussels! At almost 1 AM, so thank you for that. :)

  • Dan April 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Ha, ha. Let me know what you think if you make them Misty! :)

  • Winter Squash, Tomato and Split Pea Stew « Dan's Good Side November 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    [...] some meyer lemons and leftover tomato sauce in my fridge after whipping up a batch the week prior (similar to this recipe, sans-vodka and artichokes), so decided on making a simple vegetable-forward stew for [...]

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