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Rice, Potato and Mussel Casserole

1

  • Prep Time45 mins
  • Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
  • Makes4 to 6 servings
Rice, Potato and Mussel Casserole

Produced by Aimee Nishitoba, Photography by Carmen Cheung, Food Styling by Michelle Rabin, Prop Styling by Madeleine Johari.

This is a classic Pugliese dish from the Bari region that I learned from my friend Mariella. The name comes from simply what the ingredients are; in Italian, it’s “riso, patate e cozze.” It is a classic “cucina povera” dish using ingredients that were cheap and readily available in the region. Traditionally, this recipe requires you to shuck the mussels, but to avoid injuries, I prefer to very lightly steam them open. This is a delicious bake that infuses the mussel juices into the potatoes and rice and gets topped with a crispy parmesan–bread crumb mix.—Haley Polinsky

Ingredients

  • 1 cup arborio rice

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 900 g mussels, rinsed, scrubbed and debearded

  • 4 medium yellow potatoes, thinly sliced into rounds

  • 5 tbsp olive oil, divided

  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white part only

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp loosely packed chopped parsley, divided

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 1⁄2 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 cup grated parmesan, divided

  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Instructions

  • Position rack in centre of oven, then preheat to 400F.

  • Cover rice with 3 in. of cold water in a medium bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

  • Pour wine into a large pot set over high. Bring to a boil, then add mussels. Cook, covered, until mussels open, 2 to 3 min. Remove from heat. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

  • Meanwhile, toss potatoes with 2 tbsp oil and 1⁄4 tsp salt in a large bowl. Season with pepper. In a separate bowl, combine tomatoes with leek, 1⁄2 cup parsley, garlic, 1⁄4 tsp salt and remaining 3 tbsp oil. Season with pepper.

  • Break off and discard top shells from mussels. Pour the mussels’ cooking liquid into a 2-cup-capacity measuring cup. Add enough broth to make 2 cups liquid.

  • To assemble casserole, layer half the potatoes in bottom of an 8-cup-capacity baking dish, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle over 1⁄2 cup parmesan, then scatter with half of tomato mixture. Arrange mussels, shell-side down, tightly overtop so there are no gaps. (If you have mussels left over, remove meat from shells and reserve.)

  • Drain rice, then scatter over layer of mussels. Top with remaining tomato mixture, 1⁄4 tsp salt and any reserved mussel meat. Season with pepper. Pour over broth mixture. Arrange remaining potatoes overtop, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and remaining 1⁄2 cup parmesan. Cover dish tightly with a lightly oiled piece of aluminum foil.

  • Bake for 1 hr. Remove foil, then continue baking until liquid has been absorbed and potatoes and rice are cooked through, about 30 min. Remove from heat. Let rest for 15 min before sprinkling with remaining 2 tbsp parsley and serving.

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