Tiella Barese con Cozze, Riso e Patate
This tiella has been a quest for my husband since we have moved to Puglia, he tried it for the first time at a restaurant in Polignano a Mare, on the Adriatic coast and was instantly hooked. Puglia is all about good peasant food, the primary ingredients should all be of the best quality, but they are rarely ingredients that will break the bank. Mussels can be found everywhere, sold on the side of the road all along the coast and sold for nothing. At my fishmonger one kilo runs for about a euro, they are sold in giant dirty clumps, and considering the fact that there are often men tasting them raw on the premises, they are guaranteed to be fresh.
We searched far and wide this winter for this dish, this is fill your belly and stick to your gut food, not something you want to eat in 90° weather. Oddly mussels are a summer food in Italy, and hold the opposite rule as they do in the US, they should only be eaten in months that don’t have an R in them, not sure why the rule is different over here. If anyone can give me some insight on this, I would love to know!
We have made this recipe once before, a terrible failure, but I decided to try it again and though it wasn’t perfect, it came out pretty well this time. I think one of the things that would make it outstanding would be a wood burning oven, giving it a smokey flavor. We also need to figure out the liquid situation, the recipe that I followed oddly didn’t ask for any liquid to be added, and I’m not sure how all of that rice would have cooked with just the liquid from the potatoes and the zucchini.
My quest is to find a mamma Barese to show me how it is really done.
Tiella alla Barese
translated from Ricette di osterie della Puglia. Mare, erbe e fornelli Slow Food Editor
- 300 grams arborio rice
- 1 kilo of mussels
- 500 grams of potatoes
- 500 grams of zucchini
- a few cherry tomatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 small bunch of parsley
- 100 grams of aged pecorino, finely grated
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste
Clean the mussels and steam them open in a covered pan for a minute or two. Remove them from their shells and set them apart. Filter the liquid that they released when cooked and set apart.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
Slice the vegetables into even rounds. Sprinkle some salt on the bottom of a heavy casserole, preferably terracotta. Spread some of the potatoes in an even layer on top of the salt, followed by some of the mussels, some of the zucchini, some of the rice, some of the onion. Add some of the cheese, some of the tomatoes, olive oil and pieces of garlic. Repeat with the potatoes, mussels, zucchini, rice, onions, garlic, tomatoes pecorino and parsley. Continue with the layers until all of the ingredients have filled the casserole. Pour the liquid from the mussels over the casserole and add about 1/2 cup of white wine or water.
Cook for one hour until it is golden and crusty on top.
Five Years Ago: Banana Blueberry Muffins