There are a great variety of Italian savory pies and tart recipes for all occasions. You can serve them cold or warm, as a starter or as a one-plate meal accompanied with a green salad.
An Italian Torte can have any combination of ingredients. Some are completely vegetarian and are filled with vegetables, like artichokes or spinach. Other recipes include ham or sausage and, almost always, contain a combination of ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley and onions as a binder. From that point on, you can get creative and use any number of different ingredients to augment Italian savory pies.
Spinach Ricotta Tart
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (green onions)
5 oz fresh baby spinach leaves or 1 package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, or 3/4 cups refrigerated egg substitute
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Tart Dough (recipe below), pressed into a 9” pie pan and chilled
Preheat the oven to 425°F, and position the rack in the middle of the oven.
Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil, green onions, garlic and spinach to the pan; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature. Add the ricotta cheese, eggs, the salt and the freshly ground black pepper.
Pour mixture into the prepared crust and sprinkle the top of the mixture with the Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese and chives.
Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 400°F, rotate the baking pan, and bake 20 minutes longer or until the center is set.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Tart Dough/ Oil Pie Crust
Pie crusts made with vegetable oil have a crisp, tasty crust with no trans fats or cholesterol. No rolling needed, just mix it right in the pie plate and pat it into place. This recipe makes enough for a single deep dish crust.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour and 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons water
Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. This can be done right in the pie pan, if you like. Whisk together the oil and water in a small bowl, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened.
Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides. A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help you make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the edge.
Chill the pie crust or fill and bake depending on your recipe.