In France it is called quiche, in Italy – la torta salata or rustica. History of this savoury pie goes back to ancient times. In Italy it appears to become well known from around the 16th century, when a noble family Doria from Genoa introduced a tasty treat for Easter – la torta Pasqualina – made with 33 sheets of puff pastry, in remembrance of Christ’s age. It was made with wild chard, simple and tasty. Gradually the savoury pie spreads in the North of Italy, and later, to the South. Nowadays, it can be found in the regional cuisine of Liguria, Basilicata, Abruzzo, Sicily and other places. Although most of the time it is made like a proper pie, with the filling inside, it can also be found looking more like an open quiche.
This Italian savoury pie is a great way to use up remaining in the fridge vegetables that might go off soon. It is good cold or warm, with a crispy green salad on the side.
250 g unbleached flour, 150 g soft butter, 100 g cold water, salt to taste
2 small courgettes, 1 medium onion finely chopped, 100 g spinach, 100 g chard, 50 g green beans, 5-6 cherry tomatoes cut in halves, 3 medium eggs, 3 tbsp fresh ricotta, 125 g natural yogurt or cream, 2 tbsp fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, dill), salt, pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180°C. To make the dough for the shell mix butter and flour by hand, add water and salt. Continue kneading lightly until the dough is smooth. Chill it in the fridge for at least one hour then roll it round. You can also use ready-made puff or shortcrust pastry if you are short on time.
In the meantime, cook separately spinach, chard and green beans in lightly salted water for about 5 minutes. Cool them for a few minutes and chop into small pieces. Sauté the onion and courgettes till they are slightly golden. Mix spinach, chard, green beans, courgettes and onion in a bowl.
Whisk the eggs lightly with yogurt (or cream) and ricotta. Add the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
Line the pie dish with parchment paper and put the round sheet of the pastry in. Fill the pastry with the vegetable mix making sure that it is evenly spread. Pour the egg mix over. Top with the pieces of cherry tomatoes. Fold in the edges of the pastry to make it more rustic looking. Bake for 30-35 minutes.