Finally have an olive oil pastry recipe to call my own.  Well, not my own, I found it in a recipe book produced by Allegra Pomilio and her friends from ristorante La Bilancia in Pescara.  You can buy and download their neat recipe book here, it has a recipe for little baked cheese ravioli biscuits which are splendid as part of a pre-dinner spread.

Here the quantities have been modified to one standard torta rustica in a round (circa 22cm) or rectangular (20 x 30) form.

300 g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
50 ml olive oil
50 ml water
50 ml white wine
1 egg yolk

In a large bowl or stand mixer combine first the dry ingredients. Measure the wine, water and oil into a small measuring jug and slowly pour into the flour, mixing as you go. Add the egg yolk and mix everything thoroughly.  Turn out onto lightly floured work surface  and knead until smooth and elastic.  Cover and rest in fridge for 30 mins or so.

Rustic tarts are particularly fine homes for the seasonal vegetable and one of my most well loved corners of the Italian kitchen.  Torte Rustiche are the Italian answer to a quiche, a certain entrant at any kind of a ‘bring a plate’ type event; a party, picnic, day in the country, spring day in the park et al.  We had a new year’s party at our house one year and I still remember the radicchio tart someone brought along; a long roll of brittle olive oil pastry  stuffed with radicchio braised with onions and pancetta.  Everyone knows how to knock-up a torta rustica, even those daughters of feminists that don’t cook that make up the majority of my Roman female friends.

This sturdy olive oil pastry is a reliable crust for vegetable pies.  Below is a recipe for broccoli and provolone, but lots of vegetable combinations will work, as long as the filling remains relatively dry.

Broccoli and Provolone filling
 for 1 roughly 20cm tart

400 – 500 g  Romanesco (or regular) broccoli
1 small onion – diced
150 g ricotta – firm and well drained
100 g Provolone piccante (strong)
1 large egg
50 g Pecorino Romano – a hard sheep’s milk cheese

Lightly sauté the onion in a little olive oil.  Wash and trim the broccoli, discarding tough ends but peeling and chopping trunk and smaller leaves. Cook in lightly salted water for 8 minutes, fishing out some of the florets earlier and setting aside.  Drain and place in a large mixing bowl where it can be mashed and seasoned with salt, pepper and a good sprinkle of pecorino.

Lightly beat the egg, setting aside a tablespoon for the egg wash. Add the egg, riccotta, diced provolone to the broccoli mix and incorporate well. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Roll out the pastry to less than half a centimeter, and about 10 cm larger than your baking tin. Lay the pastry on baking tray (with optional baking paper), letting the edges overlap.  Pour the filling into the pastry, fold the edges over pleating as you go and give the pastry a quick egg and milk wash. Bake at 180° C for 40-45 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling cooked.



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