Lunchbreak: Tiella Pugliese – A Puglia Potato & Mussel Dish

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Chef Giovanni DeNigris

Osteria Trulli is located at 1501 E. Hintz Road in Arlington Heights, IL. Hours of operation include: Mon. – Thu. (11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.), Fri. & Sat. (11:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.), Sun, (12 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.).


Tiella Pugliese

(a Puglia Potato & Mussel dish that is super easy, but really unique and delicious)

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 5-6 waxy potatoes, sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • One bunch fresh parsley, finely minced
  • Grated pecorino cheese to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bag of fresh mussels, prepared on the half-shelled (see Notes)
  • Olive oil
  • A handful or two of arborio rice
  • 2-3 canned tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • A few sprigs of fresh parsley, finely minced


  1. Begin by laying down thinly sliced onion, lightly dressed with olive oil, on the bottom of a casserole dish. Over the onions lay slices of waxy potatoes, chopped parsley and garlic, and diced tomato, season generously with salt and pepper, sprinkle over grated pecorino cheese and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Over the first layer, arrange your mussels (see Notes below), season again and drizzle a bit of olive oil over each bit of mussel.
  3. Cover the mussels with a layer of uncooked arborio rice, topping the rice with additional chopped garlic and parsley, chopped tomato, grated pecorino, season again and drizzle over some more olive oil.
  4. Top the casserole with a layer of potatoes and season as you have the other layers. Pour in the juices of the mussels and enough simmering water (or, for more flavor, fish stock or clam juice) to just cover the potatoes.
  5. Bring the casserole to a simmer on top of the stove and then place in a medium oven (350F) for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is nicely brown, the rice is done and all the water absorbed but the casserole is still moist.

***To make a Tiella, mussels ‘on the half shell’ should be prepared prior to making the dish. Before adding to the casserole, simply open the mussels (either by shucking or lightly steaming), and remove the half of the shell that the mussel is not connected to. Using smaller mussels makes for a sweet flavor and more convenient layering in the casserole.

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