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.

spinach chopedspinach
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?
zuchhini chopedmozzarella
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.
brochegg brochdump
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
 
From Paola Benecchi
Prepared by:
Recipe type: Appetizer/Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 8
Ingredients
for the Spinach and Ricotta Torte
  • ⅓ roll of phyllo pastry.
  • 4 cups fresh spinach, washed with stems removed
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ 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
  • ⅓ roll of phyllo pastry
  • 2 large zucchini squash, sliced to ⅓ inch thickness
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced or coarsely chopped.
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese coarsely cut (or ½ cup shredded mozzarella)
  • ½ 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
  • ⅓ 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
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add olive oil to skillet and over medium heat, saute garlic for 1 minute.
  3. Add spinach to skillet a little at a time until all 4 cups are wilted
  4. Remove spinach from heat and place on cutting board, coarsely chop
  5. Place spinach and garlic in large mixing bowl and add cheese and 1 egg, stir until well mixed.
  6. Using brush, coat a 9" pie pan with 1 tablespoon butter
  7. 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.
  8. Brush inside of phyllo dough with butter.
  9. Scoop spinach and cheese mixture onto phyllo lined pan and fold overhanging edges of phyllo dough toward center to form a top crust.
  10. Beat remaining egg and brush outside of dough with egg wash.
  11. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until crush is golden brown.
for the Zucchini and Mozzarella Torte
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add olive oil to skillet and over medium heat, saute garlic and zucchini for 5-10 minutes until tender.
  3. Place zucchini and garlic in large mixing bowl and add cheese and egg, stir until well mixed.
  4. Using brush, coat a 9" pie pan with 1 tablespoon butter
  5. 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.
  6. Brush inside of phyllo dough with butter.
  7. Scoop zucchini mixture onto phyllo lined pan and fold overhanging edges of phyllo dough toward center to form a top crust.
  8. Beat remaining egg and brush outside of dough with egg wash.
  9. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until crush is golden brown.
for the Broccoli and Sausage Torte
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly steam broccoli until tender. Allow to cool and then coarsely chop
  3. Add sausage to skillet and brown over medium heat.
  4. Add broccoli to sausage, and over low heat, use a fork to coarsely mash the broccoli and sausage together until fully incorporated.
  5. Place broccoli and sausage mixture in large mixing bowl and add cheese and egg, stir until well mixed.
  6. 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.
  7. Brush inside of phyllo dough with butter.
  8. Scoop broccoli and sausage mixture onto phyllo lined pan and fold overhanging edges of phyllo dough toward center to form a top crust.
  9. Beat remaining egg and brush outside of dough with egg wash.
  10. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until crush is golden brown.

 

 

 

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestEmailStumbleUponShare

Comments

  1. says

    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!

    • says

      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!

  2. Anonymous says

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe: