Italian Appetisers


The filling for this torta, Italian for tart or pie, is layered instead of mixed, giving it the colors of the Italian flag, green, white and red.

Viva Italiano!


  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 14 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp of cold water
  • 4 butternut squash (1 pound, halved and seeded)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound fresh spinach
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 pound fresh ricotta
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tbsp cold water




Mix all the ingredients in an electric mixer with a paddle until a ball forms, adding flour or water as needed.

Cut in half, shape into balls, and wrap. Refrigerate at least 1/2 hour.


Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet.

Brush with 1 Tbsp of olive oil.

Bake 1/2 hour, or until soft.

Scoop out pulp. Spoon into cheesecloth, squeeze dry and add to the nutmeg in a bowl.

Cook the garlic in 1/4 cup of olive oil; add the spinach and salt; cook 5 minutes.

Pile into cheesecloth, and squeeze dry; pile in a bowl.

In a third bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmigiano, salt and pepper.

Roll out 1 ball of dough on a floured counter until it is 12 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick.

Brush a 9-inch pie pan with the remaining olive oil; line the bottom and sides with the dough.

Spoon in the squash, then the ricotta, and finally the spinach, making sure that the layers do not mingle.

Brush the edges with the egg.

Roll out the remaining dough 1/4-inch thick, place on top of the filling. Seal.

Trim excess and brush with egg.

Bake 40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve hot or warm.




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