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Tiella of Gaeta is prepared in the style of a pocket sandwich. Tiella di Gaeta.jpg
Tiella of Gaeta is prepared in the style of a pocket sandwich.

Tiella is a dish in Italian cuisine that is prepared with potato, rice, onion and mussels as primary ingredients. Additional ingredients may be used. Variations of the dish exist, and some may be prepared with other types of seafood. The round earthenware dish in which tiella is traditionally cooked is also referred to as a "tiella". Tiella is part of the cuisine of Apulia in southern Italy. It may also be found in coastal areas of Calabria. [1]

Italian cuisine Cuisine originating from Italy

Italian cuisine is food typical of Italy. It has developed through centuries of social and economic changes, with roots stretching to antiquity.

Mussel Common name for members of several families of bivalve molluscs

Mussel is the common name used for members of several families of bivalve molluscs, from saltwater and freshwater habitats. These groups have in common a shell whose outline is elongated and asymmetrical compared with other edible clams, which are often more or less rounded or oval.

Earthenware ceramic crockery and dishes

Earthenware is glazed or unglazed nonvitreous pottery that has normally been fired below 1200 °C. Porcelain, bone china, and stoneware, all fired at high enough temperatures to vitrify, are the main other important types of pottery.


In Gaeta, Lazio, Italy, tiella is a specialty dish of the region prepared in the style of a pocket sandwich, using seafood such as octopus that is stuffed within a torta. [1] Some other Italian dishes also referred to as "tiella" include a casserole and a stew.

Gaeta Comune in Lazio, Italy

Gaeta is a city and comune in the province of Latina, in Lazio, central Italy. Set on a promontory stretching towards the Gulf of Gaeta, it is 120 kilometres from Rome and 80 km (50 mi) from Naples.

Lazio Region of Italy

Lazio is one of the 20 administrative regions of Italy. Situated in the central peninsular section of the country, it has almost 5.9 million inhabitants – making it the second most populated region of Italy – and its GDP of more than 170 billion euros per annum means that it has the nation's second largest regional economy. The capital of Lazio is Rome, which is also Italy's capital and the country's largest city.

A pocket sandwich is a sandwich which is made using a single piece of folded or hollowed bread, such as a pita, tortilla which is made from dough cooked with fillings inside. Hotdogs are not a prime example of a pocket sandwich.


In Italy, the dish originated during the time of Spanish rule in southern Italy, and it has been described as being "reminiscent of Spanish rule". [2] Waverly Root described tiella as "one of the few Spanish dishes which have been taken into the Italian repertory" and considered it was distantly related to paella. [1] [3] Potatoes entered Italian cuisine during the 16th century, a time of powerful Spanish influence in the peninsula.

Paella Valencian rice dish

Paella is a Valencian rice dish that has ancient roots but its modern form originated in the mid-19th century in the area around the Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain's national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols.

Tiella with potato, rice, onion and mussels

Ingredients and preparation

Primary ingredients used in this dish are potato, rice, onion, and mussels. [4] Additional ingredients used in its preparation may include tomato, artichoke, courgettes, garlic, white wine, celery, parsley, bread crumbs and cheese, such as Pecorino. [4] It is typically baked in an oven, and has been described as similar in appearance to paella. [2] Some versions omit the use of rice. [4] The mussels are "traditionally served on the half shell", and may be steamed prior to being added to the dish for baking. [4]

Zucchini Edible summer squash, typically green in color

The zucchini or courgette is a summer squash which can reach nearly 1 metre in length, but is usually harvested when still immature at about 15 to 25 cm. A zucchini is a thin-skinned cultivar of what in Britain and Ireland is referred to as a marrow. In South Africa, a zucchini is known as a baby marrow.

Pecorino Italian cheese

Pecorino is a family of hard Italian cheeses made from sheep's milk. The word derives from Italian pecora meaning "sheep".

Tiella has been described as a "hearty dish", typical of the regional cooking of Apulia. [5] Fresh vegetables from this region may be used in tiella's preparation there. [5] Apulian tiella typically includes a significant amount of potatoes. [2] Tiella has also been described as a casserole. [6]

Apulia Region of Italy

Apulia is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto to the south. The region comprises 19,345 square kilometers (7,469 sq mi), and its population is about four million.

Casserole type of food

A casserole is a large, deep pan used both in the oven and as a serving vessel. The word is also used for the food cooked and served in such a vessel, and, if so, the cookware itself is called a "casserole dish" or "casserole pan". "Casserole" should not be confused with the word cacerola, which is Spanish for "cooking pot".

The dish may be cooked in a terracotta or earthenware glazed ceramic round dish that is also called a "tiella". [6] [4] [7] Contemporary preparations may be cooked in metal pans. [7]

Terracotta clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic

Terracotta, terra cotta or terra-cotta, a type of earthenware, is a clay-based unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the fired body is porous. Terracotta is the term normally used for sculpture made in earthenware, and also for various practical uses including vessels, water and waste water pipes, roofing tiles, bricks, and surface embellishment in building construction. The term is also used to refer to the natural brownish orange color of most terracotta, which varies considerably.


Apulian versions of the dish may use rice and potato, along with white wine to steam the mussels in, Pecorino cheese, bread crumbs and parsley. [4]

Some versions may be prepared with other types of seafood, such as sardines. [8]

Other types

Italian dishes also referred to as tiella include an Abruzzan potato and eggplant casserole [1] and an Apulian stew named Tiella di Agnello that is prepared with lamb, potato and onion. [1] [7] Both of these dishes may also be cooked in an earthenware tiella dish. [1] Tiella di Agnello is typically prepared by placing all of the raw ingredients in the tiella dish in layers, which results in the top layer being crispy, while the bottom layer is soft and has liquids that have settled. [7]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Andrews 2012, pp. 205206.
  2. 1 2 3 Domenico 2002, p. 17.
  3. Root 1992, p. 555.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Goldstein 2001, pp. 108–110.
  5. 1 2 "Italy Italy". 12 (5). Italy-Italy Corporation. 1994: 39.
  6. 1 2 Andrews 2012, pp. 205-206.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Scicolone 2011, pp. 1138–1139.
  8. Script Edizioni 2011, p. 69.