An Italian Casserole called Taiedda–Apulia’s Family Favorite

Tiella alla Pugliese (Apulia) (5) Taiedda tiella alla pugliese in Italian — is one of the most renowned dishes in Apulia (the region of Italy called the heel of the Italian boot), a casserole of layered onion, potatoes, zucchini, mussels, and rice.  This is a dish they make in all three provinces of Brindisi, Lecce, and Taranto.  Also known as taieddha di cozze e le patate (casserole of mussels and potatoes) in the Salento they usually don’t use rice in the dish.  Although it is cooked in homes in an earthenware casserole called a taiedda, hence the name of the dish, in restaurants it will usually be served in a bowl or on a plate. It is one of my favorite dishes with the rice-stuffed mussels mixed with and sitting on top of the soft potatoes.  It is made with slices of onion, potatoes, zucchini, parsley, and lots of olive oil and placed on the bottom and with a layer of potatoes, zucchini and opened mussels with rice, pecorino, parsley and bits of tomato on top.  It is usually served as a first course, but it is certainly substantial enough to be served as a piatto unico (one-pot meal).

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Ideally baked in an earthenware casserole. If you serve it as a one-pot meal, it needs no accompaniment.
Recipe type: Casserole
Cuisine: Italian-Apulian
Serves: 4 to 6
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • ½ pound zucchini, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1¼ pound mussels, opened, discarding top shell and leaving the mussel in its bottom shell
  • ½ pound (1 cup) short grain rice, such as Arborio rice
  • 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly and finely grated
  • 3 ounces pecorino cheese, freshly and finely grated
  • ½ bunch fresh parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup water
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Oil the bottom of a 10-inch round earthenware casserole (preferably). Layer half the onion on the bottom. Cover the onion with half the potatoes and then a layer using half of the zucchini. Arrange the opened mussels on top of the zucchini. Sprinkle the rice over the mussels. Drizzle 4 tablespoons olive oil over the rice, then season with salt. Mix the cheese together then sprinkle half the cheese over the rice. Sprinkle the parsley and pepper over the cheese and, finally, sprinkle the pieces of tomato all around. Cover this with the remaining layer of onion, zucchini, and potato, and drizzle with the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and the remaining cheese. Pour the water over the entire contents of the casserole.
  3. Bake uncovered until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve hot.


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