Rice, potato and mussel bake

Rice, potato and mussel bake

Tiella di riso, patate e cozze

Sharing Puglia
Alicia Taylor

This dish is a perfect example of preserving the Pugliese identity at the table. Some historians claim that the tiella is the ‘poorer’ cousin of the Spanish paella, with others saying that it is a derivation of the French tian.This slow-cooked, layered dish is both comforting and hearty. Ideally raw mussels should be opened shortly before using, but this can be a tricky task. Alternatively, steam the mussels briefly in a covered saucepan until just open and reserve the mussel liquid for later use. Make sure you leave all the mussels in their half shell as they look so attractive when served this way.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg mussels
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
500g all-purpose potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
500g zucchini, sliced
5 vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 1 cm slices
1 onion, thinly sliced
250g arborio rice
25g pecorino, grated
75g dry breadcrumbs
small handful flat-leaf parsley


  1. Scrub the mussels with a scourer in water, and debeard them thoroughly. Place them in a saucepan with 60 ml water and steam for 3–5 minutes. As soon as the mussels open, take the pan off the heat and transfer the mussels to a bowl. Strain the mussel stock into a measuring pitcher and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  3. Drizzle the base of a 40 x 25 cm baking dish with extra-virgin olive oil and then place a layer of potato, then zucchini, then tomato and finally mussels in the dish. Scatter the onion and half the rice over the dish. Repeat the same layering process again. Pour over the reserved mussel water or stock and finish with a layer of pecorino, breadcrumbs and parsley. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Cover the pan with foil and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. (This will ensure the bottom layer will become crisp.)
  5. Remove the foil from the dish and bake, uncovered, in the oven for 45 minutes. Serve immediately.
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