Uova, uova, e ancora uova! Eggs, eggs and more eggs! Eggs are everywhere for Easter! Although the Easter bunny doesn’t belong to Italian traditions, and kids do not go egg hunting, around Easter time eggs can be found embedded in big cookies, inside savory pies and in the shape of chocolate eggs of any sizes which are customarily given to kids. This week to feel festive I tried something new, qualcosa di nuovo, so I made my first Torta Pasqualina, a savory pie filled with chards, ricotta cheese and uova, naturalmente, eggs of course! What’s peculiar about this pie it is its crust, made of many thin layers. I looked up several recipes, one called for 10 layers, and apparently the original version had 33 (trentatre’ !!??) layers, as the years of Jesus Christ. Now, I really enjoy baking, love traditions and all, but let’s be practical, 33 layers are too many and so are 10, so I went with four and believe me, credetemi, that’s plenty! Next time I’ll follow the advice my friend Francesca gave me, who suggested using the fillo dough!!Have a look, it looks yummy, don’t you think, non vi pare?
Pronti? Are you ready? Here’s what you’ll need.
For the dough:
600 gr. (or 21 Oz) Flour – FARINA; 3 gr (or 0.1 Oz) Salt – SALE; 350 ml (12 fl. Oz) Water – ACQUA; 35 ml (1.2 fl. Oz) oil – OLIO
For the filling:
850 gr (30 Oz) Chards – BIETOLE (or spinach); One onion – una CIPOLLA; 500 gr (16 Oz) Ricotta cheese – RICOTTA; 6 Eggs – UOVA; 130 gr (4.5 Oz) Grated parmesan cheese – PARMIGIANO GRATTUGIATO; Salt – SALE; Olive oil – OLIO D’OLIVA
Start preparing the dough mixing flour, water, oil and salt in a large bowl; then using a scale divide dough into 4 portions, 2 of approx. 10.5 Oz and 2 of approx. 6 Oz, make them in little balls, cover and let them rest for one hour. Nel frattempo, meanwhile, take care of the filling: chop onion and chards. In a large pan, heat some olive oil and add the chopped onion and cook, stirring until onion is soft and golden. Stir in chards, sprinkle with salt, cover and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Let it cool and add ricotta cheese and grated parmesan. Add 2 eggs. Now, if time has passed, let’s get busy with the crust. You’ll need the two bigger dough balls for the bottom, and the two smaller for the top. Remember to use a deep baking sheet, possibly one with a side opening. Using a rolling pin, un mattarello, roll down the 2 bigger dough balls in very thin layers. Place the first one in an oiled baking sheet, brush with olive oil and place the second layer on top of the first.
Then put half of the filling mix (you can mix in the whole ricotta or leave some to put on top as I did). Make as many holes as the eggs you want to use (I used 4), and place a whole raw egg in each hole, sprinkle with salt and cover with remaining filling mix.
Now work the remaining 2 portions of dough in thin layers and place them on top of the filling one after the other, always brushing them with olive oil. Cut out any excessive dough and seal the edges using your hands.
Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 45-50 minutes. It can be enjoyed warm or cold.
You must be already tired just by reading this recipe, but how can I leave you without a theme-perfect pillola d’italiano? Uovo, Italian for egg, is a masculine noun in the singular, but in the plural becomes a feminine noun (uova), so even articles and adjectives will match accordingly. Appropriato, no?
Buona Pasqua e buona torta pasqualina!!