I dream of Puglia with a rice and mussel tiella!

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There are many versions of the Italian tiella, which like paella or cataplana is named after the vessel it is made in. The recipe originated in Bari, the capital of Puglia. Bari overlooks the Adriatic Sea and was once an important Roman settlement, which connected the empire with the east.

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This is another one pot wonder, that’s made to be shared and devoured with friends or family. As the name suggests, tiella is essentially a layered rice, potato and mussel casserole cooked in a pretty terracotta dish called tiella.

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I love this dish for its rustic simplicity, which requires good quality ingredients that are easy to find in Sydney. So there’s no excuse for not making this recipe, plus you may be able to encourage your friends to fly off with you to Puglia, or else just dream of over looking the mesmerising azure waters of the Adriatic Sea.

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Recipe (serves 4)

  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 500g of mussels
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 400g of chopped plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of chopped parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 50g of grated parmesan cheese
  • 700g of potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 150g (3/4 cup) of arborio rice
  • salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Brush a casserole dish with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Open half your mussels with a small knife, discarding the top half. Place these in the middle of your dish. The other half which will open can be placed around the edges. This will give your dish an enticing look. As your first layer, arrange onions  in the dish and sprinkle half the tomatoes, parsley and all the garlic, followed by half of your cheese and potatoes. Place mussels on top and cover with the rice. Layer the remaining potatoes, cheese, tomatoes and parsley. Drizzle the remaining oil, season, then add water to come halfway up the dish. Place dish over heat and bring to the boil, then transfer to the oven for about 40 minutes or until your potatoes are golden and crispy. Now open that bottle of wine and serve your guests a doze of the Adriatic sea!

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