TIELLA DI RISO, PATATE E COZZE
If there's a combination of ingredients that go well together, it would be riso, patate e cozze (rice, potatoes and mussels). So well, that the ingredients name the recipe, Tiella Riso, Patate e Cozze. Don't be fooled that it's as simple as that. There's a whole lot of talking behind this recipe, each family has their own way, it can trigger serious discussions, if not, family arguments in which, some can go days without speaking to each other. I'm not kidding!
Every nonna makes it better than the one next door, reason for which the discussion starts and ends who knows where, who knows when. Some, add an extra ingredient depending on the season, like slices of zucchini, but the lady next door would probably say that's wrong. The aunt may add mussels without their shell, but her cousin in the apartment two floors down, would criticize that because she adds them with the shell. Nonna Maria uses the mussels with the shell and opens them raw before she adds her rice, whereas nonna Michela prefers to add them previously cooked with the shell. Some soak their rice in water before adding it to the tin, others think it's not necessary. The tiella itself (baking tin) needs to be of the right kind, some rigorously use the aluminum one, others, the clay cooking pots.
I followed mamma Carolina's recipe on youtube. With the only difference that I steamed the mussels previously, just enough to open them. This way, I was able to identify the rotten ones that remained closed so I can toss them away. Mamma Carolina opens them all by hand and puts them in raw before baking. I was afraid of that because I wouldn't have noticed any of the rotten-dead ones if not through the procedure I used above.
I thought it was easier to show you how the tiella is made through mamma Carolina's video. She explains in Italian but shows you step by step, so it's easy to follow.