Italian spinach torta tasty and pretty
December 27, 2006
• 2 cups unbleached flour
• 1 large egg, beaten
• A pinch of salt
• 1 cube unsalted butter, chilled
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• 3-4 T. chilled white wine
In processor, mix flour and butter until butter is the size of small peas. Mix together egg, salt and wine. With processor running, gradually add egg mixture until dough starts to form a ball.
Turn dough out onto a flat surface. Divide dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other, and form each into a flattened, round disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
• 3 large bunches fresh spinach, stems removed, cleaned
• 1Ú2 cup of cream
• 3 T. Butter
• 1Ú2 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 5-6 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded
• 1 cup artichoke hearts, sliced lengthwise one fourth of an inch thick
• 3Ú4 of a pound boiled, baked, or smoked ham, thinly sliced
• 1 pound Italian Fontina cheese, mozzarella or provolone, or a mixture of all cut in thin slices
• Egg wash (one yolk mixed with 3 T. water)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Steam spinach until tender, drain and squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Chop.
Butter a 9- or 10-inch spring-form pan.
On a floured surface, roll larger circle of dough out to a 14-inch circle. Fit dough into spring-form pan on bottom and up sides.
In a skillet, melt 3 T. butter. Add chopped spinach, cream and a little freshly ground pepper. Cook over high heat until mixture is dry. Stir in grated Parmesan. Cool.
In the following order, layer the fillings into the lined spring-form pan: sliced ham, spinach mixture, cheese, artichoke hearts and red peppers.
Repeat twice, but don’t fill torta more than three-fourths full.
Roll out other circle of dough and fit over the top, pinching edges together to seal. Decorate with pastry scraps and brush with egg wash.
Bake 1 hour, or until crust is golden. Allow to cool in pan 15 minutes then remove to serving platter. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm.
• Molly Gingell is the owner of Molly’s Gourmet Catering, takeout and cooking school at 220 W. John St. in Carson City.