Cooking Class: Torta Rustica with Gina Tringali

Cooking Class: Torta Rustica with Gina Tringali


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Some people simplify and call it quiche or savory pie. But in Italy, Torta Rustica is both a seasonal staple and an art form. Versatile Torta Rustica can be served as an appetizer, as a side dish, or be the main course. With boundless recipes and fillings, these savory rustic pies were initially intended to clean up leftovers, adding bits of leftover vegetables, cheese, cured meats, and an egg to bind it all together in a flaky shell. Served warm or at room temperature, it’s also the perfect picnic food.

Torta Rustica di Riso e Zucchine Recipe (Rice and Zucchini Savory Pie)

Ingredients

For the brisé pastry crust:

250 g (1 cup) all purpose flour125 g (4 oz) butter, chilled

A pinch of salt

90 ml (3 fl oz) cold water

1 egg yolk 

For the filling:

50 g (¼ cup) Vialone Nano rice or Carnaroli rice

500 g (1 lb) zucchini, cleaned and grated with the largest holes of a vegetable grater

1 onion, cleaned and grated with the largest holes of a vegetable grater

5 Tbsp. plus extra extra-virgin olive oil

50 g (¼ cup) parmigiano reggiano, grated 

2 eggs

Salt and pepper

Pre-heat static oven at 180°C (355°F).

For the brisé pastry crust:

Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, dice the butter and add it to the flour.  Rub the cold butter into the flour by using your fingertips. You’re aiming to obtain the texture of greasy bread crumbs. Add the cold water and knead well until the pastry comes together, using spoonfuls of water if the mixture is still too crumbly. Work the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic film, and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime, prep the filling. From there:

  1. Cook the rice in boiling salted water for around 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Mix with 1 Tbsp. EVOO and set aside.
  2. In a skillet or saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp. EVOO and add the grated vegetables. Saute over high heat for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper, lower the heat and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the rice, cheese, eggs and 1 Tbsp. EVOO. Season with salt and pepper if necessary. Let rest. 
  3. Line a 9-inch pie tin with oven paper. Roll out the pastry to obtain 2 discs of 20 cm/8″ each (or 1 disc with more overhang and the rest for lattice strips). Place one pastry disc in the lined pie tin and brush the overhang with egg yolk.
  4. Pour filling into the pie crust. Blanket the second disc of rolled out pastry on top (or lay/intertwine the strisp) and seal by crimping the overhang and edges.
  5. Brush the entire surface with egg wash, cut small slits and sprinkle with very little salt.
  6. Bake in the hot oven for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

Gina is a food historian, coffee connoisseur and cook. Born into an Italian-American family, Gina spent countless hours in the kitchens of her mom and her Neapolitan and Sicilian grandmothers – watching, cooking, tasting – dreaming of living in Italy. In 2007 she relocated to Rome where she earned a Master’s degree in Italian Gastronomic Culture from the Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, and became a certified sommelier and member of AIS. She also holds an MBA from NYU. Before relocating to Rome, she worked for Tom Colicchio's Craft family of restaurants in NYC in business development and marketing and she spent some time in the kitchen. Her writing appears on numerous food and travel publications.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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