Mussels with Pepper (Impepata di Cozze)

Mussels are in season again. This recipe is so simple that it is hardly worth calling a recipe, but it sure is a delicious way of preparing mussels and so I’m sharing it with you anyway. It was Alice of the blog A life moment who pointed out the existence of this recipe to me when we were talking about seafood pasta. Impepata di Cozze is a typical dish from the city of Naples. It basically means mussels with pepper, and that is why I made it with two kinds of pepper: both freshly ground black pepper and fresh red chile pepper. White wine, parsley, garlic, and olive oil are all the other ingredients you need for this very tasty dish. Thanks, Alice!


For 1 serving

500 grams (1.1 lbs) of mussels, cleaned

1 fresh red chile pepper

freshly ground black pepper

1 garlic clove

fresh flat leaf parsley

60 ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

lemon wedge for serving


Remove the green stem of the chile pepper, and remove the seeds and filaments as well or keep them in if you like it spicy hot. Roughly chop the garlic and chile pepper.

Mince the garlic, chile and parsley together until very fine. Italians use a two-handled rocker knife called a mezzaluna (half moon) for this, which is very handy indeed.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over high heat and add the mixture of garlic, parsley, and chile pepper. Stir for a minute and make sure the garlic does not turn brown.

Add the mussels.

Add a splash of white wine.

Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Cook over high heat until the mussels have opened up, stirring a bit to get the flavors everywhere. Turn off the heat as soon as the mussels have opened up.

Serve with a lemon wedge. If you like spicy, you may want to mop up the juices with some crusty bread.

Wine pairing

Since this is a dish from Napoli, a wine from Campania is most appropriate. Although Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino would also work, a Falanghina is best with the pepper.


Have you ever cooked radishes? It gives them a milder flavor that is quite nice. Did you know that you can also eat the radish greens? I used both in this radishes risotto, served with pancetta-wrapped monkfish.


15 thoughts on “Mussels with Pepper (Impepata di Cozze)

  1. I saw your recipe in Scoop.It, Stefan, and couldn’t wait to work through my backlog of posts to get here. What I like most about this recipe is its simplicity. There’s no need to complicate things. Leave the mussels alone and you’ll be well-rewarded. I need to find me some mussels!


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