When you go to Genova and the overall Italian Region called Liguria, you can’t escape having a local savoury vegetable pies. In fact, beside the world known Pesto sauce, Focaccia and Farinata, this Italian region is very famous for the large number of vegetable pies.
You will never find a definitive recipe for the Ligurian Vegetable Pie. In fact, although it is a tradition, every cook makes it differently, mostly due to season’s availability of the raw materials. Many of the local vegetable pies are made with artichokes, spinach or beets, however the most traditional one is made with a local edible grass called Borragine (Borage), so we cannot make it home as we cannot find such vegetable anywhere else but in Liguria.
The vegetable stuffing is wrapped in several ways: you may use puff pastry or phyllo pastry, however I usually make it a French brisee dough to get a more crunchy consistency
My own Ligurian style vegetable pie is usually with spinach. Hope you will enjoy it and let me know what you think of it.
Ligurian Spinach Pie
Ingredients for 6 – 8 people
For the dough
- 500 gr. wheat flour
- 50 gr. olive oil
- Water (as much as needed to get an elastic texture)
For the stuffing
- 1 kg. spinach
- ½ onion
- 250 gr. fresh Ricotta Cheese
- 50 gr. of grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
- 2 eggs
- 15 gr. butter
Boil the spinach for 5/10 minutes, drain them in a colander and let them cool down while you prepare the rest.
Put the flour in a big bowl trying to give it the shape of a volcano with an open crater and sprinkle the edges with some salt. Put the olive oil in the crated and stir. Add water little by little and keep on stirring. Add water as necessary, then put the dough on a working surface and knead for approx. 5 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Divide it into 6 balls (3 of which a little bigger and 3 a little smaller) and let them rest for approx. 40 minutes.
Meanwhile let’s prepare the stuffing:
Put a frying pan on the fire with a tablespoon of olive oil and the chopped onion. When the onion turns to a golden colour, add the spinach and let them flavour for 2/3 minutes. Turn off the fire and let them cool down.
Now, put the spinach on working board and chop them into small pieces (do not mash them)
Take a big bowl, put the chopped spinach in it, add the Ricotta Cheese, 1 egg, the Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese , nutmeg powder and a bit of salt and mix altogether until you get to a homogeneous distribution of all the ingredients.
Now take the 3 bigger balls of dough and roll them with pin until you get to circles 2/3 millimeter thick having the diameter of the tart tray you intend to use, inclusive of the height of the edges of the tray itself. Do the same with the 3 smaller balls of dough until you get only to the size of the diameter of the tray.
Place a big circle of dough at the bottom of the tray and place it all around the edges, brush it with a bit of olive oil and cover with a second circle of dough (same size) and brush again with olive oil and cover it with last big circle of dough.
Put the stuffing in the tray and distribute it equally, creating a small crater right in the middle. Break an egg in the crater taking care to avoid breaking the yolk. Add 6 small butter flakes and press them inside. Cover the stuffing with the 3 smaller circles of dough and close the pie overturning the edges of the bigger lower circles of dough above the smaller ones.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 40/50 minutes at 180 °C
Cut 6 – 8 slices and serve them with a glass of Chablis wine, from France.
|Serving size: slice|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 10.9g||14%|
|Saturated Fat 5.1g||25%|
|Total Carbohydrate 56.3g||20%|
|Dietary Fiber 4.5g||16%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin D 4mcg||20%|