The one bright spot in this incredibly strange time is that my local farmers market is sill up and going full force. Most of the other markets in the San Diego area have been closed for the past five weeks so I feel very lucky to be able to support these small family owned farms.
Just about every week I purchase a bunch or two of chard from a brother and sister team that I’ve been buying from for years. Usually I saute the greens with a little garlic and red pepper flakes, but when I saw this recipe in Katie Parla’s book Tasting Rome I knew I had to make it. I had all the ingredients on hand, or so I thought until I took the puff pastry out of the freezer and it was a soggy mess. Three stores later looking for the pastry and I was ready to go. I guess I should add here that three stores later with J. shopping for me and I was ready.
Katie explains in her book that this torta is often found in Rome’s wine bars and bakeries. It’s just the sort of thing that I would buy in an instant if I saw it on display. It’s perfect with a glass of wine or prosecco or makes a nice light lunch.
1 tsp sea salt, plus more for salting the water
1 pound fresh spinach leaves
1 pound fresh chard
¼ pound dandelion greens
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ carrot, finely grated
½ pound ricotta
1¼ cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound puff pastry store-bought or you can make your own
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water. When the salt has dissolved, add the spinach, chard, and dandelion greens and blanch for 1 minute, until the stalks are tender. Drain and allow to cool, about 20 minutes. Squeeze out excess water very well and chop into small, confetti-size pieces.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the greens and cook until they are tender and have darkened, 15 minutes more.
- Transfer the greens to a large bowl and add the parsley, carrot, salt, ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, three of the eggs, and pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line an 8-inch pie pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, lightly beat the remaining egg. Set aside.
- Slice off a third of the puff pastry and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll the remaining pastry into a 10-inch round, 1⁄8 inch thick. Place the pastry in the prepared pan, pressing it into the corners and leaving enough overhang to rest on the top edge of the pie pan. Trim the excess pastry with a knife. Spoon the filling into the pastry and level it to the top of the pie pan.
- Roll out the reserved pastry into a 10 × 6-inch rectangle. With a knife or fluted pastry wheel, cut it into twelve ½-inch-wide strips. Use these to make a lattice over the top of the pie, trimming the excess strips and pressing them to adhere to the edge of the bottom layer of pastry. Brush the lattice with the beaten egg.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
- Remove the torta rustica from the oven and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. The pie is best served at room temperature. It will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for 2 days; remove it from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving
*** My torta was done in about 30 minutes