Italian Vegetarian Easter Pie or Torta Pasqualina (Pasqua = Easter) has very ancient origins (its existence is attested in the fifteenth century). It’s a famous Ligurian specialty, in particular of the Genoa area. Italian Easter Pie is called Torta Pasqualina because people used (and use) to prepare and eat it especially at Easter.
Vegetarian Easter Pie is also made with artichokes, but the traditional Italian Pasqualina Pie is only made with chards. During Easter in fact artichokes were not cheap, while the humble country chards were in full bud and everyone could afford to purchase large quantities.
Moreover, as often happens in the typical dishes of ancient origins, Easter Pie ingredients, such as eggs and cheese, were fine foods that were eaten only on special occasions.
In Italy every family has its own Torta Pasqualina recipe: there are those who use artichokes or spinach instead of swiss chards, who adds a little bit of bacon to the mixture, those who prefer crescenza cheese instead of ricotta.
This is the original Italian Vegetarian Easter Pie recipe; simple, easy, made with few fresh ingredients.
Basically Easter Pie can be considered a complete vegetarian main course. In Italy Torta Pasqualina is served as a starter (either hot or cold) on Easter Sunday or during lunch/dinner parties.
Vegetarian Easter Pie Recipe
- 370g (13oz) of swiss chards
- 140g (5oz) of ricotta cheese
- 60g (2oz) of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 30g (1oz) Pecorino Romano
- 2 round sheets of puff pastry, 20cm (8inch) and 40cm(16inch) in diameter
- 4 eggs
- salt and pepper
Doses of this recipe are for a pie with a diameter of 20cm (8inch)
Clean and boil the chards in lightly salted water for 5 minutes from the moment of boiling (1). Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a bowl mix ricotta, Parmesan cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese and 1 egg (2). Stir and mix all the ingredients and add salt and pepper. Now drain the chards and squeeze them well to remove all the water. Add the chards to mixture (3)
Mix well all the ingredients (4). You can leave chards as they are or mince them, as you prefer. I’ve let them whole. Take a round baking dish, made with glass or ceramic but also those of disposable aluminum are good as long as they have high sides. Lined it with baking paper. Then take the pastry of 40cm (16inch) diameter and line the baking dish. Fill it with the mixture of ricotta and chards (5). Do three small hollows in the filling evenly spaced. Open in each hollow 1 whole egg while cooking will become hard (6).
Finally, take the puff pastry of 20cm (8inch) and close the pie, folding the edges of the basic disk (7). Put in oven and bake at 180°(350F) for 50 minutes (8). Serve Vegetarian Easter Pie still hot or let it cool to room temperature (9).