Tiella pugliese (italian rice potatoes and mussels casserole)

Main Dish
4 servings
20 min
40 min
Very Easy




  • The first step is to cook the mussels. Once you've cleaned and rinsed them really well, bring the wine to the boil in a large pot. Add the mussels, cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes or until most of the mussels have opened.
  • Remove the mussels from the pot and set them aside to cool. Reserve as much of the cooking liquid as you can, as we will use this as the stock for our rice casserole.
  • We know there are at least two different schools of thought regarding what to do with unopened cooked mussel shells. Old school thinking says you should discard them as it means those mussels are past their prime and you shouldn't risk eating them.
  • New school thinking says there's nothing wrong with the unopened ones, and you'd only be wasting perfect food by throwing them away. Not possessing enough scientific knowledge to back either theory, we'll leave it up to you to decide the fate of your unopened mussels.
  • We discarded ours. Anyway, the idea here is that, when cool enough to handle, you should remove most of them from their shells. Remember to keep about 15 (or more depending on the size of your baking dish) where you have only removed the top shell as we will use them to decorate the finished dish.
  • The next step is to measure the correct amount of liquid according to type of rice you are using. Ours was 3 parts liquid to 1 part rice and the liquid reserved from cooking the mussels was just enough to satisfy this requirement.
  • If you find you need more, we suggest adding some fish stock instead of plain water to enhance the flavour. Bring this to the boil and then keep simmering until you are ready to use it.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Separate the onion slices into rings, then use these to cover the base of your baking dish. As mentioned above, the shape of the dish doesn't really matter as long as you choose one suitable for the quantity of ingredients.
  • Next, place a layer of potatoes on top of the onion rings, once again ensuring that you have covered the entire surface of the dish. Top the potatoes with half of the chopped tomatoes this time you won't have enough to cover the whole dish, that's OK.
  • Drizzle everything with 2 tablepsoons of olive oil, season with some sea salt and a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper, scatter half the chopped parsley, then top with half of the grated parmesan. Place the shelled mussels on top of the parmesan layer, then cover everything with rice and the remainder of tomatoes.
  • Season again and drizzle with 2 tablepsoons olive oil. Take a deep breath and congratulate yourself because your traditional pugliese dish has nearly been completed we're up to the final layer now .So arrange the remainder of potato slices as neatly as you can. Arrange the half-shelled mussels (shell side down) among the potatoes to form a nice pattern according to the shape of your dish.
  • Pour the simmering stock, ensuring the entire mixture is covered. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley, then scatter the remainder of the parmesan. Bake uncovered for approximately 60 ? 70 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. You may have to check the rice, but this can be easily done as some of it will be exposed in the little gaps between the mussel shells and potato slices. If the mixture is drying out too soon, keep some boiling water handy and top up as necessary.

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Tiella Pugliese (Italian Rice Potatoes and Mussels Casserole), photo 1
Tiella Pugliese (Italian Rice Potatoes and Mussels Casserole), photo 2


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