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  • Nicolette Stathopoulos

Portarlington Mussels

Advance Mussel Supply and Barilla Pasta with Mussels

The last stop on my trip to the Bellarine Peninsula was Advance Mussel Supply. I never leave Portarlington without giving these guys a visit. These guys have been fishing for mussels in Port Philip Bay for over 30 years now, so they really know what’s good.

Mussels are so easy to clean and cook, and I love making them in big batches and serving them in the middle of the table, allowing everyone to feast from them. According to Advance Mussel Supply when choosing mussels you should choose ones that are alive, heavy, closed and filled with seawater. If the shell is a little open to begin with just give it a little squeeze and it should shut closed, this is a good sign of life. Once you know they’re fresh give them a little scrub and rinse, and pull out the beard of the mussel. This is the little furry bit that hangs out of the mussel, and its not nice to eat. You should also clean the mussels in running water, never leave them submerged in water. Once they are nice and clean they are now ready to cook.

Advance Mussel Supply has a little café where you can also purchase the mussels from located at 230-250 Queenscliff Road, Portarlington. At the café you’ll find a range of mussel and seafood dishes as well as oysters served a couple different ways.

When cooking the mussels its really important not to overcook them as they tend to become tough, they only need about 5 minutes to cook, and once the shells are opened this means they’re ready to be taken off the heat and ready. Each mussel will open at a different time, like cooking popcorn, so take them out of the sauce, or pot/pan as they start to open. One last fun fact about mussels is that they come in two different colours, the flesh that is, not the shell. The bright orange ones mean they are female and the creamy white ones are male, although there is no difference when it comes to taste.

When it comes to eating the mussels my favourite thing to serve them with is pasta in a red sauce. When I’m down at the beach house I want something quick and easy to put them together with. If I were at home I’d make up a homemade Napoli basil sauce to go with them. But when you’re in a rush there’s nothing better than a Barilla jarred sauce. I’ve also been cooking with Barilla pasta for as long as I can remember, so pairing the mussels with a Barilla spaghetti is a no brainer. Below is my recipe for Mussels with Napoli Spaghetti, enjoy.

Mussels with Basil Napoli Spaghetti

Serves 4


  • 3 kg live mussels, cleaned and beards removed

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil

  • ¾ white wine

  • 1 tsp. sweet smoked paprika

  • 500g-1kg Barilla spaghetti, no5. Depending on how much you can eat

  • 1 jar Barilla Basilico tomato sauce

  • ½ tsp. chicken style stock powder


Start by bringing a pot filled with water to the boil, season generously with salt.

In another large pot heat up the olive oil and start cooking the garlic cloves, cook these whole as they add a nice flavour to the oil. Once the garlic cloves are sizzling away add in the cleaned mussels, place the lid on top of the mussels and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Once the water has come to the boil in the other pot, add in the pasta and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente, remove from the pot and drain the pasta.

Once the 2 minutes is up in the mussels, add the white wine and paprika, and place the lid back on top of the pot. Allow to simmer until the mussels start to open.

Place the pasta back into the saucepan it was cooked in and season with olive oil, stir in the Barilla basilica sauce until all the pasta is coated in the sauce. In a small glass place 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Melt the chicken stock in the glass and pour it over the warm pasta. Leave the pasta aside until ready for serving.

Now that the mussels are starting to open, carefully remove them one at a time from the pot and into a serving dish. Slowly the mussels will all become open and ready to eat.

Serve the pasta on the bottom of a dish and place the mussels in the middle of the table and allow the guests to help themselves. I love making food like this as it brings people together and gets people using their hands and opening up around the table. It brings out so much conversation and laughter when you sit around and have a feasting like meal.

I hope you all enjoyed my recipe and I would love for you to get your hands on these delicious delicacies and give them a go at cooking. Don’t be afraid of them they are so easy to cook. If you don’t like using a bottle sauce feel free to sauté and onion and some garlic in a pan until translucent, add some chopped fresh tomatoes and simmer away for 5-10 minutes. Finish by adding some freshly chopped basil for the same result.

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