"Tiella" – A Layered Vegetable Casserole

Italian seasoned layers of potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and greens baked in an earthenware dish.


This recipe is named after the earthenware dish it is baked in, a "Tiella". A long time favorite meal in southern Italy where each region has their own favorite version based on the cook's choice of available vegetables.

Most commonly used are tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini. Potatoes are always included sometimes with eggplant, squash, mussels or chopped meats and rice. Other cooks line the dish with pastry. Not traditional to this recipe, but if preferred a grating of mozzarella can be tucked in right before adding a layer of Summer Tomato Sauce. A perfect flavorful dish for the surplus of summer vegetables. 


½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

5 fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced (julienne)

1 pound Swiss chard, stems and leaves

1 pound zucchini

1½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3½ cups fresh uncooked Summer Tomato Sauce 

1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese

About 2/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 375°. Lightly oil a deep 9x12-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the extra-virgin olive oil and garlic. Have a large sheet pan lined with waxed paper ready to hold the vegetables.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the Swiss chard in the boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender, then drain. When cool, remove stems chop, coarsely chop leaves. Squeeze chard to remove moisture and set on waxed paper lined sheet pan.

Trim zucchini end, then cut lengthwise into ¼-inch slices, place on sheet pan. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, put the halves cut-side down, and slice them lengthwise ¼-inch-thick; place on sheet pan.

Season the Swiss chard, zucchini, and potatoes lightly with salt and with pepper. Toss the vegetables with some of the garlic and oil, using enough to coat them generously. Reserve any remaining oil for drizzling on top of the Tiella.

Starting with half of the potatoes, make a layer in the prepared baking dish, using potato pieces to fill in any gaps.

Spread with ½ cup of the Summer Tomato Sauce, then sprinkle with 1½ tablespoons of the basil, 2 tablespoons Parmigiano cheese and 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs.

Repeat the layering: zucchini, tomato sauce, basil, Parmigiano, bread crumbs-using all the zucchini and then layer with all the Swiss chard. Top with the remaining potatoes and then the remaining Summer Tomato Sauce and basil. Drizzle with the remaining garlic and oil.

Cover and bake until tender and bubbling, about 1¼ hours. Uncover, sprinkle with additional Parmigiano and seasoned bread crumbs, and continue to cook until the top browns, about 15 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature to allow the dish to settle and deepen in flavor.

Tiella may be served hot, warm, or at room temperature. Reheat in a low oven if desired. To serve, cut into squares and carefully lift out of the pan with a spatula.

Cook's Note: Other greens such as spinach, broccoli rabe or escarole can replace the Swiss chard.


Summer Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1-1/2 pounds fresh ripe plum tomatoes, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

4-5 fresh basil leaves

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat for about 30 seconds. Sauté the garlic until soft, about 30 seconds, do not brown. Add the red pepper flakes stirring into the oil to soften. Remove from heat and add the fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Add fresh basil leaves. Can be mixed with cold cooked pasta for a light summer salad. Makes 2-3 cups

Cook's Note: For a more intense garlic flavor, use raw garlic, do not sauté. 

Buon Appetito! From Amelia's Kitchen

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Suzze September 17, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Thanks Amelia for a great vegetable dish and. For another fabulous recipe! Swiss Chard is one of my favorite veggies. I have several pounds of tomatoes that I need to use, so I will make your Summer Tomato Sauce recipe today (and freeze some to have a taste of summer in the winter.) I will make this vegetable casserole later in the week. A perfect dish for meatless Monday's! I still use the Kindle version of your cookbook on my iPad as well as your actual paperback cookbook frequently. It is my "go to" cookbook when I need a recipe or some inspiration.
Amelia Bonacorso September 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Susan, Thank you so much! Tiella is a typical example of the simplicity of Italian cooking. Recipes like this are created from the abundance of fresh vegetables available and so can me changed around depending on whatever you have.
Suzze September 17, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Just made your Simple Summer Sauce...AMAZING! ( and very simple.! You really know how to give us "no fail" recipes! Can't wait to make the Tiella.
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