A classic Easter preparation – as its name announces, since Pasqua means Easter in Italian – this dish knows a variety of interpretations and regional changes. The most common version is linked to Liguria, the narrow region on the Thyrrenian Sea neighboring France, made with leafy green vegetables easy to grow in the vegetable gardens in the spring.
The idea is to have a stuffed bread in the shape of a pie; the stuffing is left to the creativity of the cook – or much more simply, to what was available in nature.
One of the ingredients readily available were wild herbs, harvested in the countryside, that would require several washes to get the soil out before being steamed. I personally would not be able to distinguish with complete certitude which wild herbs are edible, and which ones are not. In Italy you can go to some local farmers’ market and buy them – if you are lucky, as this is a skill that is disappearing rapidly.
The most common version nowadays is the Torta Pasqualina with spinach, which is readily available and sometimes even already washed. Which takes away a lot of the work of preparing this dish! In the past, it was common to use “erbette” or a mix of spring greens, tender and flavorful, part of the chard family.
Another must have in the Torta Pasqualina are the whole eggs: symbolizing the birth, and thus the spring. They must stay whole, perfectly visible when cutting the pie, and make a striking color contrast with the green herbs.
One thing is certain: the dough for the Torta Pasqualina is never made with butter, but only with flour, olive oil and water. In this it differs from many other stuffed pie recipes from around the world. You won’t find anything simpler, nor tastier than this!
PREMIUM CONTENT for MEMBERS ONLY
For 4 Servings
1 cup Carnaroli rice
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of EV Olive Oil
½ glass of white table wine
1 pint chicken stock preprepared (or vegetable stock)
1 cup rinsed blueberries
1 cup roasted chestnuts or more, chopped in big pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese (optional)