Easter Time - Pasqua

The time of the Re-Birth.

In the kitchen: eggs, grains and seeds: the symbol of the New Life.

Today a typical pie from Liguria.
The pastry has an arabcic heritage: it is the puff pastry, in Liguria made with extra-thin layers of pastry brushed with extra virgin olive oil. The tradition wants 33 layers, like the age of Jesus.
The filling is made of vegetables: fresh green beets - swiss chard -, spinach, artichokes.
In the orginal recipe there is the "Quagliata", which dialectal name in Liguria is "Prescinseua": not easy to find, so often replaced with Ricotta.


Ingredients, serves 4/6:
For pastry:
1 kg tender wheat flour
30 gr extra virgin olive oil

olive oil to brush

For the filling:
800 gr swiss chard/beet greens
6 artichokes
40 gr grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (or Grana Padano)
600 gr ricotta
egg yolk: 1
6 hard boiled eggs

olive oil to brush

Make a dough with the flour, a little oil, water and a pinch of salt, and knead well all the ingredients. Spread out a cloth on the kitchen table, sprinkle it with flour and line up the pastry dough, cut into twenty separate pieces; cover with another cloth, dampened with warm water and leave to rest.
Clean the Swiss chard/beet greens and the artichokes; wash and boil them; drain , squeeze and  chop them. In a bowl, mix the vegetables with the ricotta - or the Quagliata - , the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a pinch of salt.
With a rolling pin, roll out 10 of the pieces of pastry into thin layers and lay them, one at a time on top of each other, in a large pie tin greased with oil; make sure that they stick well to the bottom and to the sides, but be careful they do not tear; brush them one by one with oil with a pastry brush, apart from the last one. On the last layer of pastry place an even layer of filling. Shell the hard boiled eggs and place them in the middle of the filling.  Roll out the remaining pieces of pastry into very thin layers; lay them one at a time on top of the filling, taking care, before placing the following layer, to blow on them in order to keep them separated from each other; brush with oil. Cut off the edges of the pastry which stick out from the tin, shape them into a rope and lay it around the edge of the pie. Brush the surface of the pie with beaten egg yolk, pierce in a number of places with the prongs of a fork. Bake for 40 minutes at a moderate heat. The torta pasqualina is excellent both hot and cold.