Friday, September 20, 2013

Italian Savory Pie. Antipasto di Torte salate



Over the next few weeks we will be featuring a multicourse Italian dinner, straight from the kitchen of a dear friend of ours, Paola.   Paola happens to be a fifth generation Methodist pastor, nothing so unusual about that right?  Perhaps not, except for the fact that she hails directly from what many consider the epicenter of all great things culinary; the land of Italy.  Friends, let me say, when it comes to culinary finesse and skill, this lady is the real deal.


The menu we will be featuring  here on Platter Talk will also be served up for Paola's church, The Family Church, right here in Neenah, Wiscosnin.  Viva Italia is the annual and major fundraiser for this small church that orients itself toward families in general and towards children in particular.  Paola is a skilled speaker and can effectively deliver a meaningful message.  What's more, she is easily one of the most naturally gifted cooks I have ever known.


We start this series out with a brief introduction of today's feature, Italian Savory Pies.  Paola is explaining to Mario, an American Field Service exchange student from Italy being hosted by a local family, what she is putting together.  She then explains to us in English a summary of what she is doing.


Like a lot of great cooks, Paola does not use a recipe.  This series of some of her dishes will likely be the closest and indeed perhaps the only time she has attempted to put the ingredients and instructions for her recipes down in writing.



To that end, I suppose I should clarify that these recipes were not written out by Paola.  Rather, I have done my best at putting in writing what this lady does in her kitchen over a flaming gas stove and hot oven.
spinachchopedspinach







As frequently happens in my life, it seems, a bit of irony showed up this past week.  While reviewing some seasonal ideas to put together for Platter Talk, I came across one recipe that called for a sprig of savory.  That one made me scratch my head just a bit.  We have all heard of food being described as sweet or perhaps savory, but what really is the difference?  When you think of savory, what comes to mind?
zuchhinichopedmozzarella

As fate would have it, just a few days after coming across that particular recipe which made me start to think about savory, I spent a few hours in Paola's kitchen and then subsequently at her table, experiencing the delicious beauty of  savory, first hand.

Again, fate and irony seemed to commingle, this time through a couple of other guests at Paola's when this very discussion centered around savory came up.  Some of the impressions of savory among them included things that are not sweet, steak and hearty flavors, and herbs that are often associated with Italian seasoning.   Turns out, these are all correct.  A savory flavor is generally designated to a food that is not inherently sweet.
brocheggbrochdump

It all makes perfect sense as far as these Italian pies are concerned.  They are all things savory.  There are vegetables, there is sausage, and of course, there is cheese.   All savory, and the combinations with which Paula created them, all a spectacular celebration of taste and flavor.


 

Happily, this trio of Savory Pies will be the featured antipasto at Viva Italia on Friday evening October 25 at The Family Church in Neenah, Wisconsin.    Why does this make me happy?  I plan on making a show at this dinner.  If you are within a reasonable driving distance of Neenah,  it is a great opportunity for you to experience these appetizers and much more while at the same time making contribution to a wonderful cause.  Details for this very special dinner will follow the recipe below.


Never Miss Another Platter Talk Recipe
Italian Savory Pie.   
Antipasto di Torte salate 
Recipe
 Inspired by Paola Benecchi

Ingredients
for the Spinach and Ricotta Torte
  • 1/3 roll of phyllo pastry.
  • 4 cups fresh spinach, washed with stems removed
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated 
  • 2 eggs, 1 reserved for egg wash
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced or coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
for the Zucchini and Mozzarella Torte
  • 1/3 roll of phyllo pastry
  • 2 large zucchini squash, sliced to 1/3 inch thickness
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced or coarsely chopped.
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese coarsely cut (or 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella)
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated. 
  • 2 eggs, 1 reserved for egg wash
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
for the Broccoli and Sausage Torte
  • 1/3 roll of phyllo pastry
  • 2 medium heads broccoli
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 eggs, 1 reserved for egg wash
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
for the Spinach and Ricotta Torte
  •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Add olive oil to skillet and over medium heat, saute garlic for 1 minute.  
  • Add spinach to skillet a little at a time until all 4 cups are wilted
  • Remove spinach from heat and place on cutting board, coarsely chop
  • Place spinach and garlic in large mixing bowl and add cheese and 1 egg, stir until well mixed.
  • Using brush, coat a 9" pie pan with 1 tablespoon butter
  • Line pan with phyllo pastry.  Place edge of 3 or 4 layer thick phyllo on center of pan and cover toward edge allowing excess phyllo to hang over edge of pan.  Repeat for the other half of pan.
  • Brush inside of phyllo dough with butter.
  • Scoop spinach and cheese mixture onto phyllo lined pan and fold overhanging edges of phyllo dough toward center to form a top crust.
  • Beat remaining egg and brush outside of dough with egg wash.
  • Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until crush is golden brown.
for the Zucchini and Mozzarella Torte
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Add olive oil to skillet and over medium heat, saute garlic and zucchini for 5-10 minutes until tender.
  • Place zucchini and garlic in large mixing bowl and add cheese and egg, stir until well mixed.
  • Using brush, coat a 9" pie pan with 1 tablespoon butter
  • Line pan with phyllo pastry.  Place edge of 3 or 4 layer thick phyllo on center of pan and cover toward edge allowing excess phyllo to hang over edge of pan.  Repeat for the other half of pan.
  • Brush inside of phyllo dough with butter.
  •  Scoop zucchini mixture onto phyllo lined pan and fold overhanging edges of phyllo dough toward center to form a top crust.
  • Beat remaining egg and brush outside of dough with egg wash.
  • Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until crush is golden brown.
for the Broccoli and Sausage Torte
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Lightly steam broccoli until tender.  Allow to cool and then coarsely chop
  • Add sausage to skillet and brown over medium heat.
  • Add broccoli to sausage, and over low heat, use a fork to coarsely mash the broccoli and sausage together until fully incorporated.
  • Place broccoli and sausage mixture in large mixing bowl and add cheese and egg, stir until well mixed.
  • Line pan with phyllo pastry.  Place edge of 3 or 4 layer thick phyllo on center of pan and cover toward edge allowing excess phyllo to hang over edge of pan.  Repeat for the other half of pan.
  • Brush inside of phyllo dough with butter.
  •  Scoop broccoli and sausage mixture onto phyllo lined pan and fold overhanging edges of phyllo dough toward center to form a top crust.
  • Beat remaining egg and brush outside of dough with egg wash.
  • Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until crush is golden brown.
Each pie yields 8 servings
Printer Friendly Recipe 
See the Complete Menu Features of Viva Italia by Clicking Here



Viva Italia
Authentic Italian Dinner


Where:   The Family Church
                2318 American Drive
                Neenah, WI  54956

When:    Friday, October 25, 2013.  6:00 p.m.
 

Great Food and Fun for The Whole Family
For Tickets or other Information




35 comments:

  1. Being a full-blooded Italian I'm pretty ashamed that I've never had one of these!! The two veggie versions are destined for my kitchen, for sure!

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    Replies
    1. Joanne,
      I envy your heritage and your culinary prowess. Now it all makes sense!! Thakns for the great comments and have a wonderfull weekend!

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  2. What an honor to have Paola sharing her Italian recipes with you and you being her scribe as well as allowed to share her recipes with your Platter Talk readers...in a series no less! This is nothing short of fabulous, Dan. Love this recipe, cannot wait to try it and look forward to the next posts in this series. Thanks ever so much for sharing and have a wonderful weekend!

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    Replies
    1. Stacy,
      An honor indeed, all of it. Paola is inspiring in so many ways, personally and of course in the kitchen as well. I hope this series can help showcase some of her talent and of course help make their annual fundraiser an even greater success. Thank you, Stacy, as always for the wonderful comments! Happy weekend to you and yours!

      Delete
  3. These look heavenly and I may do a version of my own. Wow love the photographs Dan.

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    Replies
    1. Patty,
      Thank you so much for the comments. I hope you try these, and just wait to see what is in store for the rest of the menu!! Have a great weekend!!

      Delete
  4. Oh wow..I love savory pies and would absolutely go crazy for these! I wish I was closer to Neenah :)

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    Replies
    1. Ashley,
      I wish you could attend this dinner too, I know it will be amazing!! Thank you for leaving a comment and wishing you a wonderful weekend!

      Delete
  5. I am buying my ticket and will be there on the 25th of Oct - I NEED a taste of these pies!!!
    :)
    Paola is a gem!

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    Replies
    1. Shashi,
      Paola is a gem! How fun it would be to see you there!! Have a great weekend, and thank you for the nice comments!

      Delete
  6. This looks unbelievable! Great post!!

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    Replies
    1. Marie,
      Thank you for the comment! I hope you have a relaxing weekend way down Texas-way!!

      Delete
  7. Hello,

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    ReplyDelete
  8. I LOVE savory pies. This sounds heavenly Dan and I love your photographs. Well done!

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    Replies
    1. Anne,
      Thank you for the comments, I love anything my friend Paola puts together, including these wonderful appetizers!

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment! Give one of these pies a try!!

      Delete
  10. "a sprig of savory"

    It probably literally meant a sprig of the herb savory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_savory

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ashlee,
      I think you are correct. Thanks for following Platter Talk and I really appreciate your comments!

      Delete
  11. I love savory pie and your pies look amazing :)

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  12. This reminds of 'pies' I had in Greece. I do not get along with Phyllo dough. But I will say I think I have given up too soon. This pie has got to be outrageous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol,
      Do me a favor, and ulitimately one top yourself, try working with phyllo again. If I can do it, anyone can, promise!! Thanks for stopping by, would love to hear from you again sometime.

      Delete
  13. I just made zucchini and mozzarella torte tonight. Have to say, I was disappointed with results. It lacked flavor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comments. I sure hope you will give the other ones a try!

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  14. WOW, this is gorgeous!! Each pie sounds delicious, but I can't wait to try the Spinach and Ricotta. YUM!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sarah. I don't think you can go wrong with any of these!

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  15. This looks so delicious, I've never used phyllo dough, but after reading this I must give it a try soon. This pie is amazing.

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  16. This is gorgeous! I absolutely love this recipe. I've been super hesitant to play with phyllo, but you are inspiring me to give this a try!

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  17. I can't wait to try these! Now I just have to decide which one to make first! They all sound equally amazing! Love the photos! <3

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  18. That looks lush! Do you think you could post me a slice?! ;-)

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  19. Wow, they all look so delicious! I have never used phyllo for anything other than baklava, so this will be a real treat. :)

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    Replies
    1. We're so happy to hear from you; phllo sounds much more intimidating than reality. I hope you will give these a try; and remember to use your own flavors if you like, own it!

      Delete

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