This recipe comes from the beautiful city of Gaeta, located south of Rome, right in the heart of the Mediterranean; the smells and flavours of this dish remind me of the sea, beautiful sunny days and picnics.
for the dough
- 400 gr flour
- 20 gr fresh beer yeast
- 70 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 200 ml water
for the filling
- 2 kg fresh escarole (a type of Italian endives; you could substitute endives to escarole if you can’t find it!)
- 2/3 garlic cloves
- good quality black olives (if you can find taggiasche olives, they’re perfect for this recipe!)
- 100 gr raisins
- 60 gr pine nuts, toasted
- 30 gr capers (rinsed if salted)
- 10 anchovies
- chilli powder or flakes to taste
- extra virgin olive oil
Wash escarole or endive, cut into strips and dry very well. In a large saucepan, heat some olive oil and cook garlic cloves for a few minutes. Remove them and add the olives to the pan, cook for a few minutes and then add the escarole (or endive) strips. Stir well. Cover pan with a lid and let cook until soft. At this point add pine nuts, raisins and capers, as well as the anchovies (break them into smaller pieces first). Add chilli flakes or powder to taste. Stir and cook on high heat until all water from the vegetables has evaporated. Add salt to taste and set aside.
To prepare the dough, break up the yeast and melt in in 100ml lukewarm water and add flour in a large bowl. Slowly add the remaining water and mix in. Without mixing up the dough too much (as this might make it too tough) shape the mix into a ball. Let rest for one hour, during which the dough should double in size. Now take the dough, and press it with your hands to create a fairly thin round layer (sort of like a pizza base). Cover a 25cm oiled cake tin with your stretched dough, and let the excess around the sides be. Preheat oven at 180°.
Stuff your base with the escarole filling, then take the remaining dough and shape into a thinner layer, and place this over the top of your filling like a pie. Now fold the excess around the sides over the top layer. Lightly pierce the top layer with a fork and drizzle some olive oil on top. Now bake in the over at 180° for one hour. Once the top looks crispy and golden, your tiella is ready!
Though this dish takes a little bit of work, it is really worth it. You can make more than one and keep them in the freezer- if you don’t end up eating all of them in one sitting- which could definitely happen.
Servite la tiella tiepida, meglio se il giorno dopo.