September 11, 2008

Torta Rustica

I have to try this recipe because the title sounds fancy. It sounds very sophisticated and Italian. Kinda like something that you would find down at the Olive Garden. Yeah, I know....not just fancy, but fancy schmancy. We all know that the Olive Garden serves up serious Italian cuisine. I saw on the TV that they have their own cooking school in Tuscany and everything (is there a Tuscany, Iowa???). I also hear that the greatest of chefs have trained know, like the famed Chef Boyardee!!!! I don't want to name drop, but sometimes I just can't help myself. I can only dream that this comes close to the bagged, flash frozen/reheated, processed, goodness that Olive Garden serves up. You know, like a fine wine cooler or aged Velveeta. I have high hopes. After all, I did get this recipe off the Pepperidge Farms website. Talk about fancy schmancy! We may have to use real paper plates for us tonight! Although, I really enjoy the versatility of the plastic spork (I hear that you can make a prison shiv out of 'em)...but that is a topic for another time. I can't wait to sit around and pick my teeth after this meal!

Okay, so I am poking fun at Pepperidge Farm (and possibly the Olive Garden). However, I have gotten a few tasty recipes from their website. I always feel a bit whisky-tango when I have to employ the use of Kraft foods, Pepperidge Farm, Campbell's Soup, or any other name brand grocery store item/recipe. I don't know why. Some of them are really good. Some of them taste like feet. So, why not roll the dice every once in a while? Okay, so I have never really tasted feet...but I can only imagine they have a hint of Cream of Chicken soup to them.

I have all the ingredients on hand for this recipe, and actually, I had it saved in my archives for about a year now. It looks like it could be good. I mean bad is anything with puff pastry. What the heck...I will give it a whirl.
The original recipe calls for some lunch meat turkey, and that just does not sound good to me. So, I am going to substitute cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast. I typically just season the chicken with salt, pepper and olive oil and then broil for about 7-9 minutes. The chicken ends up juicy and flavorful, without being too aggressive. This method works great, and can be adapted to any dish that requires cooked chicken. Also, I am going to use EggBeaters to make this concoction a little healthier. I will let you know how it all comes together.

Remember, dear blog readers..."if you are here, you are family". (PS-That is the Olive Garden slogan).

Torta Rustica

1 pkg. (17.3 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (2 sheets)
7 eggs
1 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 pkg. (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups shredded mozzarella or fontina cheese (12 ounces)
12 oz. sliced deli smoked turkey OR SUBSTITUTE COOKED CHICKEN
1 jar (16 ounces) roasted sweet pepper, drained and patted dry
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Thaw the pastry sheets at room temperature for 40 minutes or until they're easy to handle. Stir 1 egg and water with a fork in a small bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated, stirring constantly. Cool.

Beat the remaining eggs in a large bowl. Heat the remaining oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs. Cook, lifting the cooked portion at the edges with a pancake turner, tilting the pan to let the uncooked mixture flow underneath. Cook for about 1 minute or until no visible liquid egg remains and omelet is firm. Set aside and cool completely.

Heat the oven to 375°F. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the sheet to a 14-inch square. Place the pastry into a 9-inch springform pan, pressing the dough against the sides, and letting the excess pastry hang over the edges. Brush with the egg mixture. Layer half of the mozzarella cheese, half of the turkey and half of the peppers. Spread with half of the spinach mixture and top with the omelet. Repeat the layers, starting with the spinach, then the peppers, the turkey, the mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese.

Roll out the remaining pastry to about a 10-inch square and place over the filling and gently press to the bottom pastry. Trim any excess pastry from the edges and set aside. Fold the top pastry over the bottom and press the edges to seal. Cut reserved pastry trimmings with a knife or cookie cutter and place on top. Brush with the egg mixture.

Place the pan on a shallow-sided baking pan or wrap the bottom of pan with a double thickness of foil.

Bake for 45 minutes or until golden. Cool the torta in the pan for at least 30 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan and serve warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare, bake, cool and refrigerate the torta up to 24 hours. Let the torta stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

1 comment:

claireknightly said...

Oh man, I was CRACKING UP while I read this!!