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Broccoli Rabe + Escarole Torta

May 10, 2011 by Joan Nova in Baking, Italian, One dish meal, Side Dishes, Vegetables | 17 Comments

Technique. Once you know a technique, everything is easy and the possibilities are endless. I owe this technique to Deborah of Italian Food Forever who posted a “torta di erbe” about a week ago. It caught my attention because it didn’t require pastry dough to hold it together. What do I have against pastry dough? It tastes good, yes, but I consider it my nemesis. It involves a measure of patience and skill I care not to cultivate plus I hate the mess of working with flour, not to mention the subsequent unwanted calories. This was more like it!

I know I am going to be making variations of this for a long time to come. In fact, I already have my next one planned…I’m thinking Greek…with spinach, artichokes, feta and calamata olives. Drool.

I pretty much followed Deborah’s recipe with a few FOODalogue twists:

1. My greens mix was 2 heads of broccoli rabe and 1 of escarole.
2. I used anchovies instead of pancetta.
3. A handful of raisins were thrown in the mix for that salty-sweet yin-yang.
4. And, I added about 3/4 of a pound of diced fresh mozzarella…because I had it and thought it would be good. It was!
5. Lastly, I also added some ground almonds and lemon zest to the topping.
6. I finished with a drizzle of evoo.

I encourage you to visit Italian Food Forever because her measurements are bound to be more accurate than mine…and while you’re there, tell her I said ‘thanks’ for opening my eyes to this technique.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. I think lemon zest makes almost everything taste better. Lovely torte Joan. You’re so right. Once you mastered technique, you’ve got it made.
    My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Barefoot Contessa’s Mexican Chicken Soup &amp Our Very Own Homemade Tortilla Strips for GarnishMy Profile

  2. What a wonderful vegie dish Joan…gotta make this as a starter for my next dinner party!
    Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul recently posted..KoulouriaMy Profile

  3. Joan, this is right up my alley. I love Deborah’s site. I love tortas, but I have to say this. I know you could master tart dough, pastry dough, etc. I used to be afraid of it and now I do it in my sleep. I had a lot of misconceptions about the difficulty. Of course, it’s carbs, but pastry crust with something yummy on it is my favorite food in the world. I will be trying this your way however, since I’m still not eating wheat. I would love to hang out with you in your kitchen any day.

  4. You have my vote on this one, really liked it and also think it would be great for a picnic. Can be made in advance, doesn’t need to be heated up and nothing to spoil. Can see this for dinner with a bottle of nice white wine watching the sunset on the beach.

  5. norma says:

    Thanks for the introduction and I really like the way this looks. So earthy and healthy.

  6. I couldn’t shun pastry altogether but it can be a bit of a devil. This does look rather inviting and I really like the lemon/almond addition on top.
    Sally – My Custard Pie recently posted..Eating out in IstanbulMy Profile

  7. This sounds scrumptious, love the addition of raisins for the savory-sweet flavor combination!
    5 Star Foodie recently posted..Spring Break 2011- Acoma Pueblo and Indian Pueblo BreadsMy Profile

  8. This is right up my alley – with or without the pastry. And with all the fresh greens available right now, it’s perfect.

  9. Torwen says:

    Love that torta! It looks soooo delicious.
    I have never used escarole for anything else than salad, so I’m very excited to try my hands on a veganized version :)

  10. Fran says:

    Oh, this looks great and will fit in with my new eating lifestyle. It reminds me of the spinach tortas that were everywhere I turned when I lived in Argentina. I guess it’s the Italian influence.

    I love the idea of a Greek flavored torta. Yum!
    Fran recently posted..Sesame Seared Tuna for a Light- but Tasty DinnerMy Profile

  11. redkathy says:

    Joan this is brilliant! Your choice of ingredients are simply marvelous. I had forgotten all about the bread crumb crusts. My grandma used to make them. Same measurements as a graham cracker crust which I believe you probably loathe. Still an interesting foodie factoid right.

    Have a lovely week :)
    redkathy recently posted..Chicken in Creamy Lemon Caper Sauce over FarfalleMy Profile

  12. Lori Lynn says:

    Hi Joan – your torta looks amazing. Great photos! I bet it was delicious. I served broccoli rabe at a party this weekend – – they say it is a winter vegetable but it looks better than ever at our local market, so I continue to buy…

  13. I think the lemon zest is just lovely in it :) Lovely torte Joan.

    BTW, all details re: Sicily trip are up on the blog and can’t wait to se you there – fingers crossed :)

    ciao ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors recently posted..Baked Wonton Cups with Queso- Southwestern Chicken Salad &amp Cranberry GuacamoleMy Profile

  14. Jonny says:

    Joan – lovely torta. Reminds me of the torta di bietole (spinach and fresh cheese pie) of Genoa that we’ve had on our “must-make” list for several years now. And, for us, as well as for the Genoese, anchovies are a fine substitute!
    Jonny recently posted..Gallic Gastro-Classic- Chicken in Tarragon Cream SauceMy Profile

  15. Joan,
    this looks magnificent! We would like to share it on our Facebook page, and send people here for the recipe! (We are also sharing Deborah’s original, so they can see both ways of making it.)

    Keep us in the loop when you post more recipes using greens!
    Cut `n Clean Greens recently posted..Meet the 9-yr-old girl behind the move to make collards the official leafy vegetable of South Carolina! http-owly-54EfFMy Profile

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  1. […] is basically the recipe of the torta,  but I kept tweaking, creating layers (white bean mousse, spicy tomato jam), finishing touches […]

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