Puglian-Style Paella

September/October 2014

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In this Italian paella recipe, potatoes and other vegetables are layered with mussels and rice and baked in a casserole dish. Be sure to cover the rice completely with vegetables to ensure it cooks properly.

Puglian-Style Paella

Makes: 6 servings

Serving Size: about 1 2/3 cups

Active Time:

Total Time:


  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned (see Tip)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 medium), thinly sliced
  • 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1 cup canned no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup fine dry breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Put rice in a small bowl, cover with water and let soak for 30 minutes.
  3. Put mussels in a large pot and add enough water just to cover the bottom of the pot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Steam just until the mussels open, about 2 minutes. (They will be cooked again in the oven so you don’t want to overcook them.) Drain the mussels and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the top shell and discard. (And discard any unopened mussels.) Set the opened mussels aside on a plate, still tucked in their shells.
  4. Put a kettle of water on to boil. Brush 1 tablespoon oil over the bottom of a 12-inch round ovenproof dish or deep skillet (or similar size 2 1/2- to 3-quart ovenproof dish).
  5. Combine potatoes, zucchini and onion in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil, parsley, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread half the mixture in an even layer in the prepared pan. Spread crushed tomatoes over the vegetables and sprinkle with 1/3 cup Parmesan. Place the mussels in their shells on top of the vegetables. Drain the rice, then use your hands to spread it over the mussels. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and drizzle with another 1 tablespoon oil. Layer the remaining vegetables on top, making sure the rice is completely covered. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan over the top.
  6. Add enough boiling water to the mussel-and-rice-mixture until it comes halfway up the sides of the pan. Toss breadcrumbs with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl and sprinkle them over the casserole.
  7. Bake the casserole, uncovered, until the potatoes and rice are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Tips & Notes

  • To clean mussels, rinse very well under cold running water and use a stiff brush to remove any barnacles or grit from the shell. Discard any mussels with broken shells or any shells that remain open after you tap them lightly. Pull off any fibrous “beard” that might be pinched between the shells; the “beards” of most cultivated mussels are already removed.


Per serving: 368 calories; 14 g fat (3 g sat, 8 g mono); 24 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 4 g total sugars; 16 g protein; 4 g fiber; 300 mg sodium; 672 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin B12 (117% daily value), Vitamin C (50% dv), Iron (21% dv), Potassium (19% dv), Folate (17% dv), Calcium (15% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 1/2 vegetable, 1 1/2 lean meat, 2 fat

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