The recipe on the cover of issue 60, Torta di Verona (mascarpone trifle with blueberries and almonds), looks divine and I am sure that it would taste divine too. However I had already made a dessert this month and had another one planned, which was not delicious. magazine related. Due to this I didn't think that I could make a third one this month.
Jamie Oliver's Mushroom Stroganoff soup sounded really good. He also had a recipe for Steak & Mushroom pie which includes grated cheddar as one of the ingredients which sounded lovely too. Neither of these recipes seem all that Italian to me even if he does talk about mushroom picking with Gennaro Contaldo. Jamie also has Real Mushroom soup recipe (not in this issue) that I have made in the past that is fabulous and I would highly recommend making. Since I had made a similar recipe of his in the past I decided to make something else.
I tossed up making either Debbie Major's Prosciutto, Goat's Cheese & Roast Capsicum Pizza or Steak Tagliata with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes. I have, however, already made a pizza and a pasta dish this month and I really wanted to make something different.
To this end I decided to make Angela Boggiano's Torta Pasqualina which is a ricotta, artichoke and spinach pie type thing. It was really easy to make. It made for a very nice lunch. I think that it could have been a bit better with some different artichoke hearts. The recipe called for ones that were marinated in oil, however all I had were ones in brine. I think that there was a bit of a flavour dimension missing there. I have had the marinated artichoke hearts in oil before, they are really nice on toasted focaccia with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted capsicum, olives and salami. These ones tasted nothing like those. They were quite bland and, of course, that smoothness that the oil adds was missing. Next time I make this I will use the correct artichokes.
I was really pleased with the pastry. It was just lovely and I think that I will definitely use this pastry for other things. It was so easy to make. The olive oil substituted beautifully for the butter. I was initially slightly worried that it was not going to roll out very well as it seemed a bit stiff and hard (for want of a better word) before I let it rest. After the resting period it was just perfect to work with. I rolled it out without any problems. It lifted off my rolling sheet without splitting or cracking, which is more than I can say about some of the pastries that I have made recently. It was just so beautiful to work with and it cooked wonderfully. I think that the only thing that I would leave out next time is the additional two eggs that are cracked into depressions in the filling. The yolks of the cut egg in the picture looks really weird. It tasted and smelt okay so I am not really sure why it looked the way it did. The extra eggs just seemed unnecessary to me. I did enjoy it though and would probably make it again.
- 2 c (300 g) flour, plus extra to dust
- 1/3 c (80 ml) olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 6 marinated artichokes in oil, drained & roughly chopped
- 400 g spinach leaves, washed
- Large handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 450 g fresh ricotta, well drained
- 50 g parmesan, grated
- 6 large eggs
- Mixed salad, to serve
- For Pastry: Mix flour & pinch of salt in a bowl.
- Add 2 tbsp oil and about 150 ml warm water and mix to form a dough.
- Knead for 5 minutes or until soft and stretchy (mine wasn't but I didn't want to over work it, it was after resting though). Set aside for 15 minutes.
- For Filling: Heat remaining oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion and fry, stirring often for 5 minute or until softened.
- Stir in artichokes and stir for a few minutes.
- Add spinach and allow to wilt for a few minutes.
- Remove from heat and cool slightly,
- Pre-heat oven to 220 C.
- In a food processor add spinach mixture, parsley, ricotta, parmesan and 3 eggs. Season with salt & pepper and pulse to combine.
- Take 2/3 of the dough and roll out into a 38 cm circle and line base and sides of 23 cm springform tin (with overhang). Spoon in filling.
- Make two indents and crack in two eggs.
- Roll out remaining pastry to a 23 cm circle and lay on top rolling edges of pastry together to seal.
- Brush with remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake 35 minutes or until golden.