Make the pastry and choose the filling. There are days when I need simple and easy, there are days when I need inspiration and there are days when the chard and spinach growing on the allotment is on its last legs and needs using before fully going over to seed. Days like that need a Pie in them.
Today’s pie is from Liguria, I have no connection with Liguria, no convenient granny in the family or aunty round the corner, no tales of happy childhoods spent on the Ligurian coast, pie in hand…. I’m from Manchester and we northerners do like a spot of pie – the meat and tater kind served with a good gravy.
Moving on, literally further south Torta Verde is Green Pie and I can’t think of anything more appropriate for an Allotmenteer, a pie full of allotment greenery, there is always plenty of greenery to be had on an allotment. It’s also an all year round pie – Swiss chard and spinach for late winter and early spring, courgettes in summer and pumpkins in autumn / winter; so that in winter it could be called Torta Arancione 🙂
I like the idea of portable food, food you can take places whatever the weather, a picnic pie, an allotment pie, a midday lunch at work pie, a pie for sharing. A Portable Pie. Since baking the pie I’ve read that it’s traditionally served at Easter and came across countless versions, lots with potato added to fill it out, others with rice in to soak up the juices, but I think this pie doesn’t need those additions, it’s fine and dandy as it is, it’s a pie for all reasons and seasons.
Ligurian Torte Verde – A Pie For All Seasons
An all year round olive oil crusty Italian pie with Swiss chard in late winter and early spring, courgettes in summer and pumpkins in autumn / winter, topped off with a simple olive oil pastry. A great vegetarian pie, perfect as a starter, a main or even better for a picnic on the beach, it’s pie-perfect for sharing. Adapted from Sophie Grigson’s Vegetable Bible. Serves 6 to 8
- 500g Swiss chard or spinach, washed and drained
- a medium sized onion or 4 spring onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 generous tablespoons of parsley
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 100g parmesan
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 400g strong plain flour
- 6 tblsp olive oil
- Pinch salt
- A little warm water
- First make the pastry by sifting the flour into a large bowl, make a well and pour in the olive oil and the pinch of salt, start mixing it together and add a little warm water (a bit at a time) to make a soft but not sticky dough.
- Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and rest it for 30 minutes in the fridge
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4
- Lightly oil a 23cm / 9” tart tin
- In a food processor mix the spinach / chard, the onion, garlic and parsley until well blended – pour the mix into a large bowl. If you don’t have a food processor, no worries, simply chop the chard, onion, garlic and parsley very finely and mix together in a bowl
- Take the pastry out and cut into two pieces, one should be slightly larger than the other piece
- Roll the larger piece out to form a thin pastry and line the tart tin
- In the bowl with the spinach/chard mix now add the oil, cheese, eggs, salt and pepper to taste, mix it in well.
- Next roll out the 2nd piece of pastry and cover the pie, tidy the edges, and crimp/seal them with the back of a fork
- Brush the pastry with a little olive oil
- Make 3 slashes in the top of the pastry and bake for 45-50 minutes
- Remove from the oven, cool a little and take it out of the tin and serve – great either hot or cold