Torta Rustica

Featuring layers upon layers of deliciousness, the Torta Rustica (or Italian Easter Pie) is perfect for spring and summer picnics and potlucks!

Featuring layers upon layers of deliciousness, the Torta Rustica (or Italian Easter Pie) is perfect for spring and summer picnics and potlucks!Here comes Peter Cottontail…hoppin’ down the bunny trail…  Man, I remember that song like it was yesterday.  In reality, it was somewhere around 30-ish years ago.  But my grandmother would always sing that song when I was a little kid.  It didn’t matter if it was Easter or not.  She’d song that song whenever I (or my sister!) was upset and crying about something.  That little jingle is forever stuck in my head, and I associate it with spending long weekends at grandma’s house.  I can’t remember what I’m supposed to do today.  Or what I had for dinner last night.  But I remember that song.  Funny how the brain works, right?

Featuring layers upon layers of deliciousness, the Torta Rustica (or Italian Easter Pie) is perfect for spring and summer picnics and potlucks!With Easter coming up soon, Laura and I got to chatting about Easter egg hunts the other night.  We used to have an egg hunt of epic proportions with all of my cousins on Easter morning.  But we had to have the ‘big kids’ hunt’ and the ‘little kids’ hunt.’  Otherwise, us big kids would steal all of the eggs from the little kids.  We were such jerks back then.

Or sometimes we’d do the big kids’ version in the back yard while the little ones (my sis included) went to the front yard.  Our eggs were hidden in tree branches or knotholes in the big oak tree.  Or even in the dreaded chicken coop.  The chicken coop hadn’t been used for years, and it was basically a storage area for all sorts of junk.  And you didn’t go into the chicken coop!  Meanwhile, the little kids would have their eggs laying on the driveway or tucked under some border grass.

Featuring layers upon layers of deliciousness, the Torta Rustica (or Italian Easter Pie) is perfect for spring and summer picnics and potlucks!Laura’s mom had an ingenious idea when it came to egg hunts, though.  There were 3 girls in her family, and each girl was only allowed to pick up 2 of each color egg.  Each color had the same candy in it, so that way all of the girls ended up with the same stuff in their Easter baskets.  Pure genius right there!  I still remember fighting with my sister over who got the better candy.  Haha!

The kids might get their candy for Easter, but the adults get delicious meals like this Torta Rustica.  (Truth be told, I want my chocolate Easter bunny and this Torta Rustica!)  Ever heard of a Torta Rustica?  It’s sometimes called an Italian Easter Pie, and it’s essentially a deep-dish pie filled with Italian meats and cheeses.  It’s traditionally served up on Easter, although we cheated and made this one a few weeks early this year.  I didn’t hear any complaints, though!

Featuring layers upon layers of deliciousness, the Torta Rustica (or Italian Easter Pie) is perfect for spring and summer picnics and potlucks!The Torta Rustica is a handy recipe to keep around for spring and summer.  It’s served at room temperature, so that means it’s perfect for potlucks and picnics.  It’s also quite impressive…I mean look at those layers upon layers of deliciousness!  Thin slices can be served up as an appetizer or side dish, or larger slices can be served as the entree.  Basically, the Torta Rustica wears whatever hat you need it to wear!

Featuring layers upon layers of deliciousness, the Torta Rustica (or Italian Easter Pie) is perfect for spring and summer picnics and potlucks!Speaking of the layers, this recipe is quite versatile.  I’ve seen it made with layers of cooked Italian sausage.  I’ve seen it with artichokes.  I’ve seen it with gorgonzola cheese.  It really is hard to go wrong here!  Just make sure the flavors all play nicely together, and you’ve got yourself one delicious meal…or appetizer…or side dish.  I’ve included our favorite ingredients (*ahem* mozzarella and salami *ahem*), but feel free to adapt this one however you’d like.  And then come back and let me know what layers you included!  Enjoy!

Featuring layers upon layers of deliciousness, the Torta Rustica (or Italian Easter Pie) is perfect for spring and summer picnics and potlucks!

Torta Rustica

Featuring layers upon layers of deliciousness, the Torta Rustica (or Italian Easter Pie) is perfect for spring and summer picnics and potlucks!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Cooling Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 305kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed
  • 2 batches of pie dough homemade or store-bought
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup feta crumbled
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 large eggs divided
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley chopped
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 8 oz. salami sliced
  • 1 16-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Place thawed spinach in a small bowl. Using paper towels, press as much water as possible out of the spinach; set spinach aside. (Note: Really squeeze as much liquid out as possible to prevent Torta Rustica from being overly soggy!)
  • Roll one batch of pie dough out into a 14” circle. Carefully press dough into bottom and sides of a 9” springform pan; set pan aside.
  • Using a large skillet, add oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add diced onion and minced garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion just begins to soften (~4-5 minutes).
  • Using a large bowl, combine cooked onions and garlic with the ricotta, feta, Parmesan, 1 large egg, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper; mix until well combined.
  • Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella into bottom of pan. Next, layer half of the sliced salami on top of mozzarella. Spread ricotta mixture evenly on top. Next, sprinkle spinach on top of ricotta. Finally, layer rest of the sliced salami and then the roasted red peppers on top. Finish by sprinkling remaining 1 cup of mozzarella on top.
  • Roll remaining batch of pie dough into a 9” circle. Place on top of the filling. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg until lightly beaten. Brush edges of dough with beaten egg and pinch together to seal. Brush top of the pie with the remaining beaten egg. Cut 4 small vents into the top of the pie dough to allow steam to escape.
  • Bake at 375°F for 60 minutes, or until crust is dark golden brown in color. Let pie cool in pan for at least 45 minutes before removing sides of pan.
  • Let pie cool completely before slicing. Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature.

Featuring layers upon layers of deliciousness, the Torta Rustica (or Italian Easter Pie) is perfect for spring and summer picnics and potlucks!

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32 Comments

  1. Loved the egg hunt stories, David! I never did went on an egg hunt! Let’s say Caribbean weather is not really fit for chocolate eggs laying around anywhere but the fridge 😂😂 But funny story though, I have always like this tradition and have been making my daughters egg hunts in the back yard since they could walk! This torta rustica is just perfect for easter brunch.. heck, in my case for all year long!

    1. Haha…fair enough about the egg hunt! No one wants to pick up a melted pile of chocolate! 🙂 I guess you could hide plastic eggs full of jelly beans though? But, yes, this torta rustica is amazing! Not only does it look cool, but it’s got tons of layers of flavor in there, too. Perfect for brunch! Hope you’re having a great week so far, my friend!

    1. Oh man, the yearly egg hunt! You’d stand around sizing up your cousins and then race out of the door to find the golden egg! And, yes, this torta rustica is so darned tasty! It’s perfect for Easter brunch. Thanks, Kathy! 🙂

  2. I’ve never heard of this before, but it looks delicious – that flaky crust looks completely irresistible! My family never really did Easter egg hunts. Maybe my parents knew that my brother and I were wayyyy too competitive when it came to food, so it was easier to just divide the candy equally and put it in separate baskets for us. I like how Laura’s parents’ method combines the activity of an egg hunt while still ensuring fairness!

    1. Haha…yeah, the basket approach is way easier when you’ve got competitive kids. (I mean I know nothing about being competitive…hah.) I say you make up for lost time and have an egg hunt in your apt this year. Maybe hide cookies and cake in the eggs? You know, for extra incentive to find them! Just make sure you don’t miss one and find it in like June.

  3. I hate to admit this, but I’ve never had torta rustica. I’m a fan of anything that includes eggs, I have a crazy obsession with eggs, I can easily eat 6-8 eggs every day. I haven’t heard ‘Peter Cottontail’ in a long time. Grandmothers are great like they. They sing whatever they want whenever they want lol. My ex-boyfriends family had the best Easter Egg hunts. They hid 20-30 eggs all over the house, then let everyone lose, adults and kids alike, there weren’t many kids in the family so it was ok. The twist was instead of candy in the eggs there was a slip of paper with a number on it. After the egg hunt, we all gathered in the living room where each number was called and connected to a bigger prize like dish towels, picture frames, wine, good olive oil. OMG I use to clean up. It was so much fun.

    1. Hey, that is not a shame to admit at all! I hadn’t heard of torta rusticas (is that the plural…or is rusticae?) until fairly recently. But they are ideal for Easter brunch if you like Italian meats and cheeses! Of course, you could mix it up and leave out the meat. Add in some artichokes instead?

      Woah…I love that egg hunt idea with the numbers! How creative is that? Perfect for adults who are somewhat over the candy. (I say somewhat because I would still eat the heck out of mini candy bars!) Thanks, Mary!

  4. Mozzarella, ricotta, and feta? This Easter pie is basically a cheese heaven, David! And indeed, it looks impressive. There’s an awesome idea – you should send me a few (large) slices of this deliciousness while I’ll send you some chocolate bunnies in return. Deal?:)

    1. Yes! This pie does indeed involve 3 different kinds of cheese. And then there’s Italian meat in there, too! Not only does it look cool with the fun layers, but it really tastes pretty darned awesome, too. I want you to be able to try this torta rustica…and I want chocolate bunnies. So I say we’ve got a deal! Thanks, Ben!

  5. Hi David. This looks delicious. I mix chopped spinach with the ricotta when I make lasagna and, of course, plenty of freshly grated Parmesan and loads of Mozzarella. The Feta is a nice addition to this.

    1. Hey! This pie is sorta like a lasagna. I’ve never thought about it like that. I mean there’s no pasta in there, but it’s still built up in layers. The chopped spinach with the ricotta is a great little trick, and I’ve started using that one myself. (I credit you with that idea, my friend!) And, yes, the feta is a fun one in here. I’ve seen it done with gorgonzola or blue cheese, but I’m afraid that flavor might overwhelm the rest of the layers…I should still try that sometime. Either way, thank you, Dorothy! 🙂

    1. Hey there, Amy! Doing well over here…can’t complain one bit. (And if I did, it wouldn’t do any good…) Hope you’re doing well, too! Thank you so much for the kind words on the torta. It is indeed yummy! 🙂

  6. Never heard of Torta Rustica before but I love the name and it looks very impressive. Perfect to put in a picnic basket – looking forward to being able to eat outside again. Your Easter hunts sound incredible and like so much fun. I remember our little fights as siblings over the best Easter treats 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    1. I know, right, Miriam? The name itself makes you stop and look closer! I’m SO looking forward to being able to eat outside again. We got a new grill this year, and I’m putting it together this afternoon. Of course, it’s mid-40’s (like ~7°C) here today and raining…but at least the grill will be ready for the warmer days that are coming! Thank you so much, and I hope you and the family have a fun weekend ahead!

  7. Sounds like you had so much fun as kids having your Easter hunts! Funny, how you remember that song, too. Some times things just stick with us for some weird reason and then there’s other times I go into our pantry and think ‘what did I come in here for??” Oh my! I’ve never heard of Torta Rustica before but I need to get making this because it looks delicious! Love how it’s basically customizable to tastes, but you really can’t go wrong with all the flavours you have goin’ on here! Cheers to a great weekend, my friend!

    1. Oh, I have definitely done the ‘what did I come in here for?’ thing…and it seems to be happening more often. I blame having too much stuff shoved into my brain…so something has to get left out! So Torta Rustica is a totally unique brunch idea, but doesn’t it look so cool? It’s served room temperature, so it’s perfect to leave out for brunch. And you can totally play with the layers. I personally love Italian meats and cheeses, so this is pretty much my heaven. Yum!! I might have to make another one next week for Easter now. Haha…the plight of being a food blogger, right? Thanks, Dawn!

  8. I remember that song, but for some reason it’s a menacing voice singing. . .I’ll move on to egg hunts and figure out that can of worms later :). Our egg hunts got vicious too! My parents never separated the big and little kids. Of course I was the biggest and probably wouldn’t have liked not being able to hoard the eggs for myself. Your torta looks delicious! I love that it’s served at room temp so it’s perfect for brunch :).

    1. Yikes…Peter Cottontail is not supposed to be scary and menacing! He’s a friendly bunny! 🙂 I can only imagine the last egg hunt before the big kids and little kids got separated into two different rounds…I’m guessing it wasn’t pretty! (Heck, I was probably the one stealing chocolate bunnies from my sister…I was such a jerk back then!) This torta is indeed delicious, and it’s one of my favorites for brunch. Thanks so much, Kelsie! (Also, I really needed you to beat Carolina…ugh.)

  9. You guys had quite the egg hunt shenanigans growing up!!

    I could REALLY go for a slice of this gorgeous torta right now, David. Absolutely mouthwatering photos!!

    Have a wonderful weekend!!

    1. Oh man, those egg hunt shenanigans were the best! I’m not sure my parents would agree since they were always trying to make sure I didn’t steal my sister’s eggs…but still. I hope you had an awesome weekend, Marissa…and thank you for the kind words about the torta! This one is perfect for these early spring days. 🙂 Happy Monday, my friend!

  10. I think I must be one of the few who have heard about Torta Rustica but that is because my husband is Italian. His mother and my husband both call it Pizza Gaina but it also goes by many other names as well. It is something that my husband loves to make…I’ll show him your version with the spinach and roasted peppers.

    1. Yes! I’m glad you’re familiar with the Torta Rustica…it really is a good one! I’ve never heard it called Pizza Gaina, but I do know that the torta goes by many names. Whatever you call it, it’s gonna be delicious! Thanks so much, Karen, and I hope you have an awesome Monday! 🙂

  11. This looks amazing! I´ve never seen something like this! TORTA RUSTICA.. which I know means rustic pie (Italian is very close to Spanish).. 🙂
    The spinach layer is my fave!! BUT THEN you add salami and red pepper too?! Wowzers I think I love it ♥ Haha!
    HAPPY EASTER TO YOU & YOUR FAMILY!!

    1. Haha…you are indeed right that this is a rustic pie. I actually found this one really fun to make AND eat! All of the layers were kinda fun to build. Call me crazy? 🙂 Happy Easter to you and your family, too, Johlene! Thank you!

  12. Haha – I know exactly what you mean about having a tune stuck in your head but not remembering what you have to do today! I listened to Run Boy Run on our drive down to Charleston and I cannot forget it though I have a hard time remembering what I had for breakfast! BTW I’m as impressed with the layers on this torta as I am with Laura’s mom’s egg hunt rules and preparation! What a stellar creation!

    1. Hey, you got to go to Charleston, Shashi. I’m not going to feel one bit bad about that song getting stuck in your head! Haha. 🙂 I always enjoy making this torta, and I usually mix it up with different layers each time. It really is a fun spring recipe! Thanks, my friend!

  13. After JUST seeing Court’s Instagram story of her daughter and an Easter hunt…Damn, why wasn’t I a DIAL growing up haha! Your childhood ventures sound awesome and hopefully, it passes on to Robbie!

    I’ve never heard of a torta before, but this looks delicious- Layered deliciousness!

    1. Oh man, you wouldn’t believe those childhood egg hunts! There were at least 10+ cousins, siblings, dogs, etc out there roaming around like crazy looking for the golden egg. It was a cut-throat operation!

  14. Do you think this could be baked a day ahead of time, refrigerated, and then brought to room temperature to serve?

    1. Hey Connie! Absolutely. In fact, that’s exactly what we did with the leftovers here in our house. I don’t think serving it cold would be that great, but if you let it come to room temperature then it would be fine. (Of course, with that said, the puff pastry crust will always taste better on the day it’s baked.) I hope you enjoy this one as much as we do! 🙂

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