Oh my goodness – it has been weeks since I have been able to post!! Work travels have kept me crisscrossing the country with little time to share what’s been cooking at Casa Becci!! So lots to catch up on my friends….first up, we are planning a family trip to Puglia and have been reading about this wonderful part of Italy. The food from this region, like other southern regions of Italy, was put on the table to primarily provide sustenance after a long day in the fields. The women of Puglia prepared these dishes with whatever ingredients were on hand. In Maria Pignatelli Ferrantes’s book, ,Puglia, A Culinary Memory’, she describes how these casseroles were created during a time when the women worked alongside the men in the fields. But the women were also responsible for the cooking and had to have an array of recipes that could easily be prepared when they arrived home with their men. A tiella always includes potatoes and grated cheese and has layers – but other than that, each house had their own repeteroire and favorites. I was starving by the time I had finished my research on line about these wonderful dishes. There are so many mouth-watering versions and ingredients – and I love anything layered with cheese! For my first one, I tried this Tiella della Suocera (Mother-in-Law’s Casserole) and have my sights on one I found with mussels and tomatoes. This was easy to make and simply delicious. I made it early in the day and re-heated later for dinner. Give these dishes a try – they are a new addition to my Italian family of recipes! Enjoy….
Tiella della suocera
About 1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes, diced
1 pound of potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large or 2 medium eggplants, thinly sliced
2 bell peppers, 1 yellow and 1 orange (or any color of your choosing!)
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, shreeded
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup grated pecorino or romano cheese
1/4 cup unflavored bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Lightly oil a large baking dish that can accommodate the ingredients. Arrange first layer of half of the tomatoes.
3. Then layer half of the potatoes, eggplant, peppers and mozzarella. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle a few basil leaves on top of the mozzarella.
4. Repeat the layers of potatoes, eggplant, peppers and mozzarella. Top with the remaining tomatoes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle a few basil leaves on top of the tomatoes.
5. In a small bowl, combine the cheese and bread crumbs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the mixture over the tomatoes.
6. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
7. Cook in the preheated oven for about 1 hour. Allow to rest a few minutes before serving.