Up until very recently, I was convinced that my Grandmother had made up the word Teala; the hearty veggie dish from my childhood. Loads of bubbly brown cheese, slightly al dente veggies, spicy hot peppers and tangy tomato sauce. It really did not matter what she called it, I always loved it. Ever since I have been able to cook for myself it has been something I have always made during peak veggies season. When we decided to do our recipe for it I felt like I needed to look into the origin of the name, just to make sure. According to the internet (which is never wrong, mind you), I am a jerk. Evidently, Teala is a relatively popular Italian dish. Shows what I know. Sorry for doubting you, Grandma.
This dish is perfect for those times in the summer when you have so much excess produce you start contemplating starting your own secret CSA with your neighbors. How fun would it be to wake up and discover 10# of zucchini with a note that reads "no take backs" on your doorstep every other day? The joy of squash for every meal should not be enjoyed by just one family, we say!
Seriously though, this stuff is fantastic! It is simple. Inexpensive, and infinitely adaptable. The way Grandma (and my mom) did/do it is a little heavier than the one we do here. In ours we have subbed out the mozzarella for a sprinkle of parmesan and a little fontina on top. We have also opted for slices of fresh tomato in lieu of tomato sauce.
You will notice we have provided no amounts for the ingredients list. This dish is most definitely not a science. You make layers until, either the dish is full or, you run out of stuff. Pretty simple. Keep in mind, if you do not get the ingredients from your backyard or your local farmers market, it will not be nearly as good. But you already knew that, right?
Yellow squash or zucchini (or both) // Potatoes // White onion // Mixed peppers (hot and/or mild) // Large ripe tomatoes // Parmesan // Fontina // Olive oil // Kosher Salt // Pepper // Dried thyme
Preheat oven to 400. Slice squash, potato and tomato into 1/4" discs. Thinly slice peppers and onion. In a large oiled casserole or spring form, place potatoes in a spiral pattern from outside towards the middle. Each piece should slightly overlap. Next drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt, pepper, and thyme. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, taking care they are in the following order: potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, squash. Somewhere in the middle, add a layer of grated Parmesan. Repeat all layers until all veggies are used up. Cover with foil and place in oven until potatoes are tender. Remove foil. Turn up oven to 450. Cook until top is golden brown. Remove and let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.