Tiella di Gaeta


As I wrote in other previous posts, I really love octopus, I can eat it in all the ways 🙂 but to put it inside a focaccia it’s not really common, and this is basically what this recipe is about.

It’s an old traditional recipe from Gaeta, a village in Lazio region, bordering Campania region. This village is particularly famous also for its olives, the so called “olive di Gaeta”, and obviously they are also part of this recipe.

The edge of this tiella can be made with different shapes. Traditionally Gaeta was divided into different “fazioni”, and each one had its specific way to shape the edge.

Originally this dish was prepared for the fishermen, because by adding the ingredients between two layers of dough, the food could last more days while working in the sea. It could be filled with other fish too (pilchards, dried cod, mussels, calamari) or vegetables, but now I’m showing the version with octopus, which is great 🙂

Then after the 2nd Worldwide War this dish went almost forgotten, or better, it was seen as a dish for poor people, reminding the hard times of the past, but nowadays it has been brought back to notoriety, and it is absolutely deserved since it’s definitely a delicious recipe!

For the octopus: if you buy it fresh I suggest you to freeze it some days, so it will be more tender. Otherwise you have to hit it before cooking it. And clean it, remove also the beak and the eyes (and obviously the interiors inside the head), then wash it well under running cold water.

INGREDIENTS (28 cm pan):

For the dough:

  • 400 g flour (I used 50% durum)
  • 250 ml water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 g salt
  • 3 g fresh baker’s yeast

For the filling:

  • 1 kg octopus (it will lose 50% of its weight or even more)
  • 250-300 g cherry tomatoes
  • 80 g pitted olives (traditionally Gaeta olives, I used taggiasche olives)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • a little bit of dry white wine (optional)
  • salt
  1. I start to prepare the dough in the evening: sift the flour, add the crumbled yeast, then add to the water and start working it. When the dough it’s almost formed add the salt and then the extra virgin olive oil, work until smooth and elastic. Place it in a greased bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 12 hours. After this time, on the following morning, take it out from the fridge and let it grow for other 7-8 hours at room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile boil the octopus: take a high pot and heat 2 liters of water (and if you would like also a bay leaf). When it’s boiling, hold the octopus from the head and put the tentacles in the boiling water for few seconds, then take it out. Wait then that the water starts to boil again (some seconds, set the heat high) and then repeat the same operation, all together 3-4 times, until the tentacles are nicely curled. Then leave the octopus to boil (slowly, not too strong, so set the heat on low), covered, for about 25-30 minutes (for 1 kg octopus, larger ones will take a bit longer depending on the size). After this time take a wooden stick and control if the octopus is cooked: the stick has to enter easily in the meat.Then switch off the heat and leave the octopus to cool down in its water for other 30 minutes.
  3. Then drain it and cut it into small pieces, of about 1-2 cm. Cut also the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Cut the olives, chop the parsley and squeeze the garlic. Pour everything in a bowl, season with the white wine, the salt, the pepper and a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil. Cover and place it in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or more.
  4. When the dough is ready, cut it into 2 pieces, one slightly larger. Take the larger one and flatten it in a round shape, then place it in the oven pan (previously greased with extra virgin olive oil), with the edges falling out from it.
  5. Then take the filling and drain it from the liquids (with a colander), then spread it inside the dough, carefully. Add some more extra virgin olive oil then.tiella_gaeta_1
  6. Flatten the second dough and place it on the top. Seal the 2 dough simply passing with the rolling pin on the edge of the oven pan, cutting the extra dough.
  7. Pierce the edges with a fork, and again with a fork make holes all over the surface of the dough (so it will not break while baking).tiella_gaeta_3
  8. Brush the whole surface with extra virgin olive oil, and then bake at 200 °C, static oven, for about 30 minutes, until the surface will be of a nice golden color.
  9. Then let it cool down a little bit. Now you can enjoy it 🙂 next to a fresh salad I suggest.

If it remains, let it cool down completely, then wrap it with aluminum foil and keep it in the fridge. I suggest to eat it on the next day, heat it up in the oven again.





Products used:

Flour: 50% Buratto” (Tipo 2) and 50% “sfarinato di grano duro Senatore Cappelli” (durum), both from Mulino Marino.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Rowena says:

    You are a much more dedicated blogger than I! I’ve had a tiella di Gaeta post sitting in my draft folder since….2016?! Delicious summer food, picnic food, or any time there is a special offer on octopus at the market.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also have several drafts waiting since long time 😀 but when a recipe is too much good, why to wait? 😀 yes, it’s really an interesting recipe!


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