Easter Ricotta Pie is a delicious Italian tradition. While there are many, many variations, the sweet version, Pastiera is usually made with arborio rice, wheat berries or farro, like my Easter Ricotta Rice Pie with Raspberry Glaze. The savory ricotta version, Torta Pasqualina is often made with eggs and cooked greens, which I made for the first time ever this week.
For help, I turned to my favorite Italian cookbook resource: The Silver Spoon (which is like a Fanny Farmer or Betty Crocker primer for Italian home cooks.) Torta Pasqualina is similar to Greek spinach pie but with a fun twist. Whole eggs are cooked in the filling so when you cut a slice, you see what looks like hard boiled eggs in the center of the pie. My 5 year old thought this was super cool. My father, who is an engineer but not exactly competent in the kitchen, was actually baffled on how this was possible.
For this verision, I put on my dietitian hat (that would be my food loving dietitian hat!) and made some tweaks to reduce calories but keep the integrity (and the flavor) of the original dish. My changes:
- 8 eggs instead of 10. While that may still seem high, this pie serves 8 – 12 people and nowadays, the general rule of thumb is eating an egg a day is okay. (Plus, eggs are a wonderful source of protein and many other vitamins & minerals.)
- No pie crust on top which slashes a bunch of calories and saturated fat. Instead, I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese over the filling for a “crust” and extra layer of flavor.
- Fresh nutmeg & thyme added to amp up the flavor of the filling.
- Nix the heavy cream. The recipe called for 1 cup of cream and I was going to substitue in lowfat milk but I actually forgot to add the milk (oops!) but the pie still tasted wonderful without it.
So, now that I’ve made both savory and sweet ricotta pies, I can’t decide which one I like more!
Have you ever made a savory pie like this? If you celebrate Easter, do you have a traditional dish you make for the holiday?