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Torta Rustica

November/December 1996

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Lots of vegetables—plus a touch of cheese and pepperoni—fill this rustic torta. Perfect for entertaining, it can be made a few hours before serving, leaving you time to attend to last-minute preparations before your guests arrive.


Torta Rustica

Makes: 16 slices

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 packages quick-rising yeast, (3 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water, (120-130°F)

Filling

  • 1 eggplant, (1 pound), cut into 1/2 -inch slices
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 large summer squash, sliced
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, (not packed in oil)
  • 3 tablespoons olivada, (black olive paste) or 1/4 cup minced imported black olives
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed and washed (8 cups)
  • 3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2 7-ounce jars roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
  • 1 ounce pepperoni, cut into julienne strips
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

  1. To make dough: Whisk 1 1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Gradually stir in the hot water with a wooden spoon; beat until well mixed. Gradually add enough of the remaining all-purpose flour to make a firm, soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
  2. To make filling and bake torta: Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 3 large baking sheets with cooking spray.
  3. Place a pan of water on the lowest oven rack. (Putting a pan of water in the oven with the vegetables will help steam and soften them as they cook. You will need to be careful when opening the oven door to prevent burns from the steam.) Spread out eggplant, onions and squash on 2 of the prepared baking sheets and bake until softened, 12 to 15 minutes; set aside. Remove the pan of water from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 450°F.
  4. Meanwhile, put sun-dried tomatoes in a saucepan, add water to cover and simmer over medium-low heat until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Combine the sun-dried tomato puree with olive paste (or olives) in a small bowl; set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add spinach and cook, stirring until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool and squeeze out any extra moisture. Set aside.
  6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 14-by-20-inch rectangle. Working with a long edge toward you, spread the tomato-olive puree on the dough, leaving a 3-inch-wide border all the way around. Distribute the eggplant slices over the puree and scatter mozzarella on top. Layer onions, squash, spinach, red peppers, artichoke hearts and pepperoni on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
  7. Fold the 2 short edges of dough in partway over the filling. Then, starting with the long edge of dough closest to you, roll up as you would a jelly roll. Place the torta, seam-side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve at room temperature.

Nutrition

Per serving: 221 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 7 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrates; 10 g protein; 5 g fiber; 662 mg sodium; 323 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (50% daily value), Folate (31% dv), Vitamin C (25% dv), Iron (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 lean meat, 1 fat


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Recipe Categories

Ease of Preparation
Moderate
Total Time
More than 1 hour
Servings
8 or more
Preparation/ Technique
Bake
Saute
Meal/Course
Dinner

Season
Summer
Fall
Style/Theme
Everyday favorites
Type of Dish
Main dish, meat
Ethnic/Regional
Italian
Mediterranean
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