Friday, April 15, 2016

Torta Rustica and Tax Day Anniversary

It was today, 23 years ago that I met my future husband.  23 years ago I stood in his sister's family room enjoying a wonderful business luncheon they were hosting.  So much has happened in 23 years, I am in amazement at what we have been through (and I'm not just referring to my ever changing hair color either) and so thankful for all the blessings that we have experienced together.

Check out this stylish couple!
circa 1993, The Ritz Carlton Resort, Rancho Mirage, California
On that fateful day, they prepared an incredible menu of Torta Rustica, Arnold Palmer drinks and warm chocolate chip cookies.

Through the years, we have appreciated various deli styles of this Italian classic on our "meeting" anniversary. We decided this year we are going to try and create our own homemade version.  This weekend is forecasting another "Spring blizzard", so it's a good opportunity to stay home and enjoy old memories and new recipes.

Torta Rustica
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup roasted red sweet peppers, drained and cut into thin strips
1 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (15 ounce) carton ricotta cheese
1 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup refrigerated basil pesto or classic pesto sauce
3/4 cup shredded fontina or gruyere cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 Tbl. all-purpose flour
4 ounces thinly sliced salami and/or pepperoni, cut into thin strips
1 Tbl. water
1 pkg. (17.3 ounces) Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed (2 sheets)

Place drained artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers on paper towels;  set aside to drain while preparing filling.

For filling, in a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion;  cook and stir about 3 minutes or until tender.  Stir in garlic; cook about 1 minute or until fragrant.  Add spinach; cook for 2 to 3 minutes more or until liquid is evaporated.  Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.  Transfer to a colander.  When spinach is cool enough to handle, use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.  Transfer spinach mixture to a medium bowl.  Stir in ricotta, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, one of the eggs, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the pastry sheet into a 14-inch square.  Press the pastry into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan, leaving the excess pastry draped over the sides of the pan.  Brush the pastry sheet with other egg beaten with water.

Spread pesto sauce over bottom crust in pan.  Spread ricotta mixture over pesto.  In a small bowl combine fontina cheese, the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and the flour.  Sprinkle half of the fontina mixture over ricotta mixture.  Top with layers of salami/pepperoni, roasted peppers, and artichoke hearts.  Sprinkle the remaining fontina mixture over artichokes.

Unfold the remaining pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the remaining pastry sheet into a 10-inch square.  Place the pastry sheet over the filling.  Trim off any excess pastry and discard or save for another use.  Fold the edge of the top pastry over the bottom pastry and press to seal.  Brush the pastry with the egg mixture.

Place the springform pan on a foil lined shallow-sided baking sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.  Let the torta cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Remove torta from pan, set on serving platter and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

** We enjoyed our Torta Rustica with a mixed green salad, honey mustard vinaigrette with toasted pine nuts, Pinot Noir (and warm chocolate chip cookies of course) Cheers!  

One Year Ago: Cambozola Platter
Two Years Ago: Carrot Cupcakes

The Finale!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.