Torta verde (green pie) is a traditional Piemontese dish to have at Easter. We first experienced a torta verde at a Pasquetta celebration (the day after Easter) when we were in Piedmont. I’ve combined a couple of recipes and received a little help from a culinary tour guide and cookbook author in Piedmont, Paolo Ferrero. Torta verde uses fresh greens and herbs and is perfect for any springtime celebration. The resulting dish is pretty close to what we enjoyed on a vineyard in the hills of the Monferrato.
1 cup short-grained rice, such as arborio
1 1/2 pounds fresh greens, chopped (I used spinach, chard, kale and celery leaves)
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup grated parmesan
1 cup grated fontina
Fresh herbs for seasoning, chopped (basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, etc.)
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large pot and saute the greens and rice for a few minutes. Pour in the broth, season with salt and mix well. There will seem to be too many greens and not enough rice. Don’t worry, the greens will reduce and the rice will become more prominent. Cover and let the greens reduce. Check the pot every couple of minutes and give it a few more stirs. Once the greens are reduced and the rice is almost done, remove from heat and let the mixture cool.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Once the mixture has cooled, add the scallions, garlic, cheese, herbs of your preference, a dash of nutmeg, salt and pepper. Taste the mixture for seasoning. Add the eggs. Pour the mixture into a 8×8 baking dish or a pie plate that has been buttered and coated with bread crumbs. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the torta is set. Let cool and eat warm or at room temperature. Buona Pasqua!