By Vicki Bensinger
Torta Rustica is Italian for Rustic Pie. Although I’m partial to sweets, as you all may know by now, I particularly love this pie. Layers of vegetables in between pastry dough, resembling that of the Italian flag, this pie will satisfy and warm your tummy in the best possible way.
Over the weekend I was so exhausted from my previous 2 weeks and felt like I needed extra nutrition, so I decided to make this pie. I didn’t take step-by-step photos thinking I had already posted this previously however; I only posted a photo of my first time making it and testing for a culinary class. I needed to tweak it a bit!
I’ll do my best to give you step-by-step instructions so that you can recreate this savory pie for yourself at home. Feel free to make your own piecrust however, I chose to purchase the refrigerated pre-made crust. IMO it’s delicious, and if you don’t have the time it’s almost as good as homemade. Some will disagree and tell me they like it just as well if not better.
1 pound fresh or frozen spinach (I used frozen, chopped)
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 shallot, minced
4 eggs, beaten (you could use egg whites if preferred)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, plain or Italian
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
4 Red Bell Peppers, roasted
1/2 pound Fontina cheese, thinly sliced
4 large Portabella Mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
Pre-made Pie dough or homemade
Mise en Place all ingredients, this will make the prep work that much easier.
Start by Roasting the Peppers, then roast the Portabellas. Before roasting clean the portabellas with a damp paper towel, removing the stems. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped garlic (in the cavity) and roast or place under the broiler for about 5 minutes skin side down.
Slice peppers into strips after peeling the skin off. Portabellas should be sliced into strips as well. Set aside until ready to assemble.
Sauté butter and shallots together in a skillet, remove from heat and add spinach, egg and Parmesan cheese to blend.
Using a bowl (you can use a springform pan as well omitting the final instructions)
Line with plastic wrap (not necessary if using a springform pan.
Roll out one package of dough to approximately 1/8 inch and lay into bowl pressing gently leaving dough hanging over the sides of the bowl.
Sprinkle dough with bread crumbs. This helps to keep any moisture from coming through onto the dough, in addition to giving additional flavor.
Layer 1/3 of the spinach mixture on the bottom, then place strips of red peppers, portabellas and fontina cheese, repeat layering, finishing with the spinach. Sprinkle top of spinach with more bread crumbs.
You should have about an inch or so left to the top of the bowl.
Roll out another piece of pie dough to the same thickness as before and place on top. Crimp the edges of the 2 pie crusts together and gently flip the bowl over setting it on top of a parchment lined sheet pan or pizza pan.
Remove plastic wrap.
Brush with egg wash (egg with a teaspoon of water combined), and bake at 375F degrees for 40 minutes.
Slice and serve hot or at room temperature.
Note: Feel free to change the vegetables to suit your taste, add bacon, ham or other meats and cheeses.
Vicki Bensinger has been teaching culinary classes throughout Missouri since 1992. In 2004 she established At Home with Vicki Bensinger, offering personalized private culinary classes for individuals and small groups (ages 7 to adult) in the comfort of your home or organization.
If you’d like to learn more about my classes or request a brochure please email: [email protected]
To find local ingredients for this recipe check Pick-A-Pepper.com!
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