Tiella Barese – Traditional cozze recipe

The story behind

This recipe we cooked a couple of nights ago in the kitchen container together with kids from Bari. They arrived together with their supervisors of Fondazione Giovanni Paolo, a children’s caretaker in Bari. The kids were from eleven to 14 years old and quite lively. Surprisingly they all loved mussels and ate the typical Barese dish: Tiella Barese.Tiella comes from the dialect word tieèd, indicating the pan in which it is made (in this way it is similar to another famed rice dish, Spanish paella). When the kids left, they all yelled “bacio, bacio” and kissed us on the cheeks.


300g risottorice
500g hardboiling potatoes
500g mussels fresh from the market
150g  cherry tomatoes
2 onion
2 garlic
100 ml olive oil
½ bunch parseley
250g cheese Pecorino Romano
salt and pepper

How to prepare

  1. Heat up the oven to 180 degrees. Cut potatoes into slices (0,4 cm thin). Cut onions in rings, quarter the cherry tomatoes. Pluck parsley. Clean mussels, open up carefully half of the mussels. Finely chop the garlic, grate the cheese.
  2. Drizzle olive oil in a casserole or large baking dish. Put a layer of onion, then sprinkle with tomato, garlic and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Add a layer of potatoes and sprinkle with the cheese (not too much).
  3. Place the mussels in their half shell in one or two layers, sprinkling each layer first with rice, then with tomato, garlic, parseley, salt and pepper. Add the mussel juices (strained if necessary, and diluted with a little water if too salty).
  4. Top with another layer of overlapping potatoes so that the mussels are completely covered. Add enough water, about 800 ml – but not over the level of the potatoes.
  5. Put casserole or baking dish on the stove and heat up until the water starts boiling. Then place the casserole in the preheated oven for about 30 – 35 minutes until potatoes are cooked and the cheese has turned golden brown.