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We all have that one dish we know that instantly transports us back to our hometown. Tiella is one such meal and is one of Puglia’s most beloved dishes. It’s a dish inspired by the sea, named for the round earthenware dish in which it’s traditionally served.

This southern Italian dish is also called riso, patate e cozze (rice, potatoes, and mussels) after its core ingredients. The remaining ingredients are a rotating cast of seasonal vegetables.

The rice is prepared more in the style of paella than risotto, as the dish’s origins lie from when the Spanish ruled southern Italy in the 16th century.

Many variations of the dish exist, and some may be prepared with other types of seafood. Elsewhere in Italy, you may see the dish prepared in the style of a pocket sandwich.

Whilst the dish can be prepared with your own desired adaptations, we will attempt to remain as authentic as possible.

Serves 6

  • 1 kg. fresh mussels (scrubbed and debearded)
  • 500 g. potatoes
  • 500 g. ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 200 g. Carnaroli rice, or long grain
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley (30g)
  • celery leaves
  • dry white wine or prosecco
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, grated
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Firstly, pre-heat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
  2. Now prepare the mussels. Scrub well and open them in a saucepan with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Use a small sharp knife to carefully prise open the shells and pull out each raw mussel and its juices. If you know how to shuck, do so to retain the most amazing flavour of the ocean!
  3. Discard any mussel that hasn’t opened. Collect the mussels in a bowl and cover them so they don't dry out.
  4. Retain the cooking liquid from the mussels and mix it with 300 ml. of water.
  5. Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices as thick as a coin. Divide the cherry tomatoes into 4 wedges and slice the onion thinly. If you’re using any other vegetables, here is the time to prepare them.
  6. Roughly chop the parsley leaves (keeping the stalks!) until you have 2 tbsp., then chop the celery leaves until you have 1 tbsp. Mix them well with the roughly chopped garlic.
  7. Time to prepare the tiella. Grease a baking dish with 2 tbsp. oil. Place half of the potatoes, cherry tomatoes, onions, garlic and parsley and any other vegetables into the pot, and season well with salt and pepper. Then add 1 tbsp. grated Parmigiano cheese, half of the mussels (arranged with the shellfish facing up) and half of the rice. Then repeat, forming a second identical layer.
  8. Carefully pour over 1⁄2 glass of wine or prosecco followed by the cooking water of the mussels.
  9. Cover the tiella with a lid or aluminium foil, ensuring it is completely covered. Bake at 400°F/200°C for 45-50 minutes. Uncover, and finish by cooking it for another 15 minutes. Check to make sure that the rice is cooked, otherwise, you'll have to cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  10. Place in the centre of the table in its cooking dish and serve up with a chilled glass of Bombino Bianco, Greco Bianco or any Puglian DOC.