Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Southern Italian Vegetable Tiella
The weather is glorious here today. It is so wonderful to have the windows open. I may be pushing things a little since it only reached 62 today but the house needs some fresh air. The felines must not think it is cold as I each one is currently napping in a different open window. They love to curl up in a window and smell the fresh air.
Because the windows were open I decided to turn on the oven and make a baked veggie as part of our dinner tonight. Tiella is a traditional Italian technique for making a veggie casserole. It always has potatoes as one of the components and after that you can do whatever you want with it. I use the veggies I have on hand to make these but always seem to include tomatoes, onions and garlic. Frequently you will see this dish topped with bread crumbs and cheese. I sometimes use fresh lemon zest and bread crumbs to top the dish. However the potatoes really make the bread crumb topping unnecessary, in my opinion. Here is what I made to accompany our dinner tonight.
Southern Italian Vegetable Tiella
2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating so allicin can develop)
2 small organic russet potatoes (approx 8 ounces), if not organic they should be peeled
½ yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
14 ounces diced tomatoes, no salt added
8 ounces yellow squash or zucchini
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon capers, brined (drained)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, convection if available.
Microwave the potatoes until they are beginning to cook but are not soft. You are microwaving them so that they will have the same cooking time as the squash. Allow the potatoes to cook before slicing them into ¼ inch rounds. If the potatoes are not organic peel them before slicing.
Combine the garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning in food processor and pulse to combine. The mixture will be sticky and will try to clump together. Use your fingers to break it apart when it is time to sprinkle it on the dish.
Slice the squash into approximately ¼ inch rounds and set aside.
Place the tomatoes and the can liquid in the bottom of a 9 by 9 pan. Make alternate rows of squash, potato and onions.
Top the tiella with the spice mix you created above. Grate the lemon over the pan so the zest and oils are evenly distributed. Top with a few drained capers. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 45 minutes and check to see if the vegetables are tender. If not add a little more time and continue to cook the dish covered. The dish is finished when the veggies are tender.
To serve top the tiella with freshly minced parsley. This is good hot or room temperature. I prefer it room temperature. It is great on a buffet.
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 126.77
Calories From Fat (3%) - 4.22
Total Fat - 0.51g
Saturated Fat - 0.09g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 414.24mg
Potassium - 1090.16mg
Total Carbohydrates - 29.1g
Fiber - 4.5g
Sugar - 6.14g
Protein - 4.49g
I love how easy this particular dish is to make. It also reheats beautifully. If you like soft flavorful veggies you will like this dish. This is something that you can serve to omnis as I have found everyone seems to like it. I guess it is the potatoes that make it universally appealing.
If you are looking for ways to change this dish here are some veggies I have incorporated into this dish in the past that worked well: artichokes, cardoons, eggplant, fennel, and mushrooms. I have even made this with tofu slices in place of the potatoes when I wanted a one dish meal. You can also use a flavored tomato sauce on as the base, or sliced tomatoes within the dish itself. This dish is more a method than a recipe. I documented what I made tonight, which will be different the next time it appears on my table.
I have been busy today running from place to place. Not the most relaxing day, but it keeps me out of trouble. Do your lives seem to get busier as the weather warms up or this just something that happens to me?
The remainder or this week and next are going to be a little crazy here. I will be in and out for the next 7 days or so. Expect me to take a little longer to respond to comments as I will be on my handheld device much of the time.
I hope you all had a great day today!