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Tiella pugliese is a hearty layered casserole similar to potato gratin or paella. The name “tiella” refers to the cooking vessel as well as to the food inside it. Typically, a tiella is made of terracotta, but a cast iron skillet also works well for this recipe.
One of the tricks to making a good tiella recipe is seasoning the ingredients sufficiently. You will notice that the directions below call for a number of seasonings between each layer, including olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, cheese, and parsley.
In addition, the mussels should be opened on the half shell. There are two ways of doing this: by shucking them raw or by briefly steaming them and then removing the portion of the shell not attached to the meat. Either way, when you open the mussels, make sure to reserve the liquid to pour over the final layer of potatoes.
Tiella is a traditional dish from Puglia made with rice, potatoes, mussels, onions, and tomatoes. It should be cooked in the oven for about an hour and a half, making sure the potatoes are soft, the mussels and rice are cooked through, and the top is golden brown with a crispy gratin. This family dish is typical of what you’d find in homes in the city of Bari.
Tiella Recipe (Rice, Potatoes, and Mussels Casserole)
- 2 large russet potatoes sliced
- 0.66 lbs Arborio rice soaked in cold water for 2 minutes then drained
- 1 1/2 lbs mussels opened on the half shell--reserve the liquid
- 1 onion sliced
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh Italian parsley chopped
- 2 small tomatoes sliced
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano freshly grated
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Drizzle 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a cast iron skillet.
- Arrange a layer of onions in the bottom of the skillet and drizzle with olive oil.
- Add a layer of potatoes seasoned with garlic, tomatoes, parsley, cheese, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with oil.
- Add a layer of mussels seasoned with garlic and parsley. Drizzle with oil.
- Layer the rice over the mussels, making sure to cover each mussel. Season with garlic, tomatoes, parsley, cheese, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with oil.
- Add a final layer of potatoes.
- Add the reserved liquid from when you opened the mussels. Add water so that the final layer of potatoes is just covered.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.
- Place in the oven and bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Other Pugliese recipes: