1-3. Torta d’erbe (Vegetable pie)

There are several recipes for vegetable pies in this section and I picked this one for you. It’s a recipe that Beth Elon watched Maria Angela Pagani prepare in her Filattiera home. The vegetables came from her garden that morning! Maria Angela makes the tart in a large 40cm pan but Beth has done it in a 35cm paella pan so something similar will surely work.

Serves 8 generously (or 4 people if Dan and I are eating it)

5 medium-sized courgettes
1 bunch swiss chard
6 large spring onions
Salt
500g plain white flour
Warm water
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large potatoes, peeled and grated
150g freshly grated Parmesan

Grate the courgettes into a colander. Chop the chard and add to the courgettes. Mix well with a good amount of salt, and leave for an hour or two to eliminate as much water as possible. Into another colander grate the onions, including as much of the green leaves as is fresh. Salt well and leave to drain.

Make the pastry. Put the flour with about a tablespoon of salt and two tablespoons of olive oil into a bowl and add water slowly, working it into the flour. When it reaches a sticky but firm consistency, start to work it into a pastry, kneading and adding more flour as necessary. Work the dough for about five minutes, until it has some elasticity.

Wash the vegetables with water to remove the salt and squeeze out as much water as possible. Mix them all together. Add the potatoes, cheese and remaining oil and mix well. Add salt to taste.

Heat the oven to 200C.

Roll out the dough into two very thin discs, one a bit larger than the other. Line a large baking pan with baking paper and place the larger disc on the bottom. Spread the filling evenly across the bottom. Place the smaller disc on top and fold the edges of the bottom disc over, closing the tart. With a fork, prick holes all over the tart.

Bake the tart for approximately 40 minutes, until the top is slightly brown and the vegetables cooked (Ed: how are you supposed to know that?). Serve hot or warm. If there are leftovers (depending on who was eating the pie first time round), heat them again before serving.

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