Today, it’s the perfect time to tell you about the most traditional Italian Easter dish of them all: Torta Pasqualina!
Tasty and colourful, delicious fresh from the oven but also excellent the day after, this Easter pie originated in Liguria but has a thousand different versions: with herbs, with spinach, with artichokes, with radicchio... Not to mention with or without egg. And if egg is included, it can be left whole or mixed into the filling, like an omelette.
As always, the simplest recipe wins here! So grab yourself some puff pastry, some spinach (frozen is fine) and some eggs, throw on an apron, and off you go: it’ll be an Easter straight out of Italian tradition.
[preparation time: one and a half hours – 40 mins preparation, 50 mins cooking]
Ingredients [serves 4 if eaten as a main dish; 8 as an accompaniment]
- 500 g spinach (if fresh, weigh it after cleaning it)
- 200 g ricotta (cow milk or goat milk)
- 40 g grated Parmesan cheese
- 40 g grated Pecorino cheese
- 6 eggs
- 2 rolls of ready-made puff pastry (fresh or frozen)
- Pepper (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- A saucepan for blanching the vegetables (with lid)
- A bowl for mixing the ingredients (preferably transparent)
- A wooden ladle
- A baking tray (not too shallow, diameter 22-24 cm)
Start by blanching the spinach: you can do this by soaking it in a little salted water for about 10 minutes or steaming it for no more than 5 minutes. In either case, keep the lid on the saucepan.
Once drained, leave it to cool and then squeeze it dry.
While the veg cools down, you can move on to the filling. In a bowl, carefully mix all the ingredients, adding them in this order: the ricotta, one egg, then the two types of grated cheese. If the bowl is transparent, you can make sure that you have blended everything properly, including the edges.
As you carefully work the filling, add a little salt and pepper. Once the mixture is well blended, add the now-lukewarm spinach.
You can keep the leaves whole or cut them up with a knife – it doesn’t matter. The really important thing is that the spinach has been fully squeezed dry and the mixture is not watery. Don’t forget that!
Turn on the oven and set the temperature to 180 degrees.
Line the baking tray with baking paper and unroll the first roll of puff pastry, including the edges. Don’t worry about trimming them: you’ll use the excess to seal the pie once it is covered with the second roll of puff pastry.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: add the ricotta and spinach mixture to the tin, compacting it with a fork. Next, with a spoon, make 4 small holes in the surface of the filling at equally spaced intervals. Pour the contents of an egg into each one. While cooking, each egg – sitting in its little groove – will become hard-boiled: a dash of colour (and flavour) to discover from one forkful to the next. ;)
Now it’s time to cover the pie with the other disc of puff pastry and gently seal the edges, taking care not to put any holes in the pastry.
Beat the last remaining egg and brush the top of the pie with it. You can decorate it by piercing it with a fork, perhaps with an Easter-themed design. If you’re not very artistically inclined, just make the holes at random: no decoration is better than an ugly decoration. ;)
The oven should be at the right temperature by now. Bake the pie for about fifty minutes, ensuring that the top doesn’t get too browned: if it does, cover it with aluminium foil – what I call “silver paper”.
Take it out of the oven and leave it to cool for about ten minutes, removing any silver covering.
Voilà – your Torta Pasqualina is ready to be served and enjoyed! And remember: it will taste even better tomorrow!
Buon appetito! 💗