Make Ahead

Tegame alla Vernazzana

February 25, 2014
2 Ratings
  • Serves 3-6
Author Notes

I enjoyed this dish in Vernazza, a small village in the Cinque Terre region of Italy's Ligurian coast. A "tegame" is a cooking vessel, so this dish's name translates to "casserole in the style of Vernazza".

That version used fresh anchovies, a fish, alas, that we just don't see in our supermarket seafood case. I have used canned oil-packed anchovies here, but it works well with soaked, salt-packed anchovies, or other oily canned fish like tuna, sardines or herring.

There is a bit of slicing, but if you have a Benriner or other mandoline-type device, it goes pretty quickly. (If not, a sharp knife will be your friend.)

This recipe calls for 1/2 cup of olive oil; this is not a typo. Serve the final dish with bread for soaking up all the delicious, tomato-rich oil that is produced during the baking time.
There is no added salt in the recipe (other than that used in the water to parcook the potatoes). I find the anchovies give enough salt to the dish, but if you use another fish, you may want to sprinkle a little salt in as you're building your layers. —Savorykitchen

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut in 1/4" slices
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (about 6 oz), sliced paper thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin or crushed in a press
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced rosemary
  • 2 2 oz. cans anchovy fillets
  • 2 14.5 oz cans whole tomatoes
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Place a rack in the middle position.
  2. In a pot of salted boiling water, parboil the potato slices until just tender, about 10 minutes. The slices shouldn't fall apart readily, but should be tender enough for a fork to be poked into them. Drain and set aside.
  3. Drizzle some of the olive oil into the bottom of a baking dish (I use a 10" ceramic tart pan with 1.5" sides). Layer 1/3 of the potato slices into the bottom of the pan. Layer 1/2 of the sliced onion and garlic over the potatoes. Layer the fillets from one of the cans of anchovies over the onions and garlic. Sprinkle 1/3 of the parsley and rosemary over. Tear the whole tomatoes into strips and layer about 1/3 of them and their juice over the herbs. Top all with a generous grinding of pepper and healthy glug of olive oil.
  4. Repeat the layering: another 1/3 of the potatoes, the rest of the onions and garlic, another can's worth of anchovies, another 1/3 of the herbs, another 1/3 of the torn tomatoes and juice, pepper and oil.
  5. Finish the tegame with the rest of the potatoes, herbs, and tomatoes and juice. One more generous drizzle of oil over the top. Really should look dangerously oily. Place the pan on a sheet tray and pop it into the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are fully tender and the anchovies are melting. Let rest for 10 minutes or so and serve. This dish is also good at room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cucina di mammina
    cucina di mammina
  • gingerroot
  • Savorykitchen
  • Dorothea Brooke
    Dorothea Brooke

6 Reviews

Dorothea B. March 17, 2021
I had this dish in Vernazza, and it remains one of the most memorable dining experiences of my life. I looked for recipes (though it is simple), and this is the most authentic. In the summer if you can get really good fresh tomatoes, it is even better. An really excellent olive oil also improves the dish.
Savorykitchen March 17, 2021
Dorothea - It makes me so happy to read your comment. And yes, fresh tomatoes and a great olive oil make all the difference!
cucina D. March 1, 2014
I just love this recipe... it's a prefect reminder of how in Italy the simplest ingredients can make an incredible dish filled with flavor, thank you so much for the share.
Savorykitchen March 2, 2014
Thank you! I also appreciate its simplicity. I'm sure that there an infinite number of versions of this dish: all delicious, and all characterized by the family history and experience of the cook.
gingerroot February 26, 2014
This sounds divine.
Savorykitchen February 27, 2014
Thanks! One of the things I really like about this dish is its flexibility: in winter I use rosemary and potatoes, in the summer, I'll use fresh tomatoes, add in fresh oregano or marjoram and slices of zucchini.