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Torta Pasqualina

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This is a Genovese Easter pie. It is delicious but can be a lot of work to make from scratch. I use store-bought Phyllo dough for it to make it a simpler recipe. The 12 eggs used in this recipe are supposed to symbolize the 12 Apostles.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. spinach, washed and chopped

½ onion, finely minced

2 T. olive oil + more for brushing

2 T. chopped parsley

1 tsp. marjoram

1 c. grated Parmesan (freshly grated is best)

1 ¼ lb. ricotta

¾ c. heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb. phyllo pastry

12 eggs

4 T. melted butter

Instructions: This is a deep dish pie so you need a pan that’s at least 2-3 inches deep. A springform pan will work here. Saute the onion in the 2 T. olive oil. When translucent, add the spinach to the skillet and continue sautéing until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in 1 T. of the parsley, ½ tsp. of the marjoram, and ½ cup of the Parmesan. Allow this to cool while working on the rest of the recipe. Mix the ricotta and cream and season with some salt (about ½ tsp. seems to work well here).

Take the Phyllo pastry out of its package but be sure to keep it covered with a dampened towel as you are working as it will dry out very easily. Brush the pan with olive oil and lay in one sheet of Phyllo pastry in it, allowing the pastry to extend up the edges of the pan. If any of it hangs over the edges, trim that off. Brush the sheet of Phyllo with more oil and place another sheet on top of it. Continue this way until all sheets of Phyllo have been laid in the pan ensuring that you lightly brush on oil in between each one. (There should be about 32 sheets of pastry in all in a 1 lb. package). If your pan is a little too wide for the sheets of pastry to cover the bottom completely, you can alternate the way you lay them in – ie: lay one in vertically and the next horizontally so that you get complete coverage.

On top of the final layer of Phyllo pastry, spread on the spinach mixture followed by the ricotta mixture. In this, make 12 “wells”.

Break an egg into each well, trying to keep them contained to their own wells as much as you can. Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper as well as the remaining parsley, marjoram, and Parmesan. Pour the melted butter over the top of the whole pie. Now cover the filling with the rest of the sheets of Phyllo pastry using the same oiling procedure as before. Finish off by brushing some oil over the top of the pie. Bake at 375 degrees F for about an hour until golden brown. This can be served hot, warm, or cold.

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