Tiella is a traditional Puglian dish which layers mussels with potatoes, rice and onion. Leaving meat out of the equation and highlighting seafood, vegetables and grains instead, this dish really does reflect the typical Puglian fare. It looks complicated and involved, but really it is just a lot of chopping and layering of different ingredients. Although I cooked it as a main course, I would most likely serve it as a side dish.
Overall this was really good. While it was delicious, I wasn't a fan of having the mussel shells in the middle of the dish. While it was actually fairly easy to scoop out servings, I just didn't want to pick the shells out of the dish as I ate. If I were to make this again I would probably take the mussels out of their shells and layer them like that. Alternately, I've seen another version of Tiella from the region of Basilicata which omits the mussels altogether.
I made my tiella in a circular baking dish that is about 6-8 inches in diameter. Keep that in mind if you want to make a bigger batch. Here are some pictures of the layering process so you get an idea of what it's supposed to look like.
Adapted from Over a Tuscan Stove
3/4 pound mussels (if keeping the shell on - if removing the shell you will need more)
1 cup arborio rice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1/2 a red onion, sliced thin
2 small to medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 layers of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon parmigiano reggiano cheese
- Clean the mussels. Discard any mussels that are already open. Put mussels in a large skillet with some water over high heat. Cover and let cook until the mussels are opened, about 3 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Remove one of the shells from each mussel, so that each is sitting on the half shell.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Put the rice in a dish with cold water and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Pour the olive oil in the bottom of your baking dish. Top with the breadcrumbs.
- Layer the onion over the breadcrumbs.
- Layer the potatoes over the onions.
- On top of the potatoes, layer the mussels open side up.
- Top with half of the chopped tomatoes, half the garlic, and half the parsley.
- Drain the rice and layer over the tomatoes.
- Make another layer of potatoes.
- Top with the remaining tomatoes, garlic and parsley. Cover with the cheese.
- Pour in 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/4 cup olive oil.
- Bake for about 1 hour, until liquid is absorbed and rice and potatoes are cooked through.
Ryan'sSue's rating of Tiella - 3.5.