Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a deep 2½- to 3-quart baking dish and set aside. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup olive oil and garlic. Set aside. Bring a large pot of lightly...

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Serves 6 as a main course, or 8 to 10 as a side dish

– 1/3 cup olive oil (plus a teaspoon for oiling pan)
– 1 tablespoon minced garlic

– 1 pound spinach, thick stems removed (about 5 quarts)

– 1 pound zucchini (3 medium)

– 1½ pounds russet potatoes (2 large)

– ½ teaspoon kosher salt

– ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

– 3½ cups bottled or homemade marinara or tomato sauce

– 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

– ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

– 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs

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1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a deep 2½- to 3-quart baking dish and set aside. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup olive oil and garlic. Set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Plunge spinach into the boiling water for about 15 seconds, then drain and transfer to the ice bath. When cool, drain again and squeeze dry. Chop coarsely and transfer to a bowl.

3. Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut in half lengthwise, then again crosswise. Cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Put in a separate bowl. Peel potatoes and cut in the same way as the zucchini. Place potatoes in a separate bowl. Season vegetables with salt and pepper, and toss with some of the garlic oil to coat lightly. Reserve remaining oil for drizzling on top of the tiella.

4. Using half of the potatoes, make a layer in the prepared baking dish, filling in any gaps with small pieces. Spread with ½ cup tomato sauce, then sprinkle with 1½ tablespoons basil, and 2 tablespoons each Parmesan and bread crumbs. Repeat the layering twice, replacing the potatoes with zucchini, then with the spinach. Follow each with layers of tomato sauce, basil, Parmesan and bread crumbs. Top with remaining potatoes, tomato sauce and basil. Drizzle with reserved garlic oil.

5. Cover and bake until tender and bubbling, about 1¼ hours. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and bread crumbs. Continue baking, uncovered, until top begins to brown, about 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature to allow dish to settle and deepen in flavor.

Note: Tiella may be served hot, warm or at room temperature. Reheat in a low oven if desired.


From “Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking.”