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Torta Rustica

tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoWhenever I am asked what a savory tart is, the Torta Rustica comes to mind first.  Layers of vegetables and cheese encased in an Italian butter pastry that is easy to make and roll out without all the cautions of an American crust makes this not only good but easy. Torta Rustica simply means Rustic Tart in Italian.  The spinach layer is highlighted with onions and asiago or parmesan cheese with eggs to bind it.  Roasted red peppers and artichokes, both canned are layered along with provolone cheese.

The torta is from what the Italians refer to as cucina fresca, meaning room temperature.  It should be served warmed but not hot. While it will freeze, it takes forever to thaw.  If frozen, our recommended method for our customers was to let it thaw in the fridge for a couple of days, wrap it in foil, leaving the top somewhat open and heat it in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

I make this every Monday as our lunch special at Anthony’s and it has been a hit ever since we first introduced it. The  Torta Rustica is the perfect lunch with a side salad.  It can be made days ahead and refrigerated, then warmed to serve.

Spinach Fillingtart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo
1 small onion (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon oil 4- 10 ounce packages frozen, chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
3 eggs
2/3 cup grated asiago or parmesan cheese (65 grams or 2 ounces)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (40 grams or 1 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

Finely dice the onion and sauté in the oil until golden. tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

Combine all of the ingredients and set aside.tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

Pasta Frollatart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo
2 3/4 cups flour (400 grams or 14 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
5 ounces unsalted butter  cut in small pieces (1 stick + 2 tablespoons or 145 grams)
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk

Line the bottom of a 9×2 inch round cake pan with parchment.  Spray the bottom and sides of the pan.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the flour and salt in a processor bowl.  tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoProcess briefly to mix.  Place the butter pieces in a circle over the flour.  tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoProcess until mealy. tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo Add the eggs and milk.  tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoProcess until a ball forms. tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoRemove 1 pound (455 grams or about 2/3) of pastry, shape into a ball and flatten into a circle. tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo Repeat with the remainder of the pastry.

Assembly
Spinach filling, above
Pasta Frolla, above
1 – 1# can red peppers, drained and patted dry
1 –  15 oz. can artichoke quarters, drained well
1/2 pound provolone, cut into 10 slices*
1 egg, well beaten

Roll  the larger amount of pastry into a 14 inch round.  tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoPlace in the prepared pan leaving an equal amount of overhang around the edges. tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoFit into the corners of the pan by pulling the dough on the side toward the center of the pan tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoand laying it into the bottom and edge of the pan.  Continue all the way around.

Layer the filling as follows:
1/2  spinach fillingtart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo
1/2  red pepperstart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo
5 slices provolonetart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo
All the artichokestart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo
5 slices  provolonetart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo
1/2 red pepperstart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo
1/2  spinach fillingtart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

Fold the overhanging pastry to partially cover the filling.  Pull the dough and filling in toward the center,tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo mounding the filling up.tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

Roll the remaining dough into a 10 to 11 inch circle.  Brush the pastry enclosing the filling with egg wash.  tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoCover with the top circle of pastry and tuck the edges firmly down the sides of the torta.  tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

Flatten the torta in the pan.  tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoBrush with egg wash tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoand make a small steam hole in the center with a toothpick.tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

 

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes until the crust is deeply browned.   tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photoCool 15 to 20 minutes before cutting or cool to room temperature.

Note:  This is good hot or room temperature.  This also freezes well.  However, move it from the freezer to the refrigerator 2 days ahead of heating and serving.  To reheat; wrap the torta in foil, leaving an opening in the center. Heat at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

*I used a prepackaged deli sliced provolone.  It had 10 slices in the 8 ounce package.

tart spinach Savory Tart Italian tart  food photo

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