Italian Eggplant-Pepper Torta

(4 votes)

Torta Dough (recipe follows)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small eggplant (about 1 pound), cut in 1/2-inch unpeeled cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 yellow or red bell pepper, quartered, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (9 ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can Italian-style tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 eggs
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Torta Dough
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
2 eggs
1/2 cup softened butter

Prepare dough.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Grease an 8-inch springform pan.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add eggplant, onion and red pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft and begins to brown.

Mix in garlic, basil, salt, oregano, pepper and artichokes. Add tomatoes and their liquid.

Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat so mixture boils gently. Cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender and liquid has evaporated, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Beat 2 of the eggs in a large bowl. Add vegetable mixture and Swiss cheese; mix lightly to blend.

Shape about two-thirds of the dough into a ball on a well-floured surface. Roll out to about a 14-inch circle. Line springform pan with dough.

Spread vegetable mixture in dough-lined pan. Fold in dough at edge, over filling. On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining third of the dough to make a 9-inch round; use a knife to score the round into 6 or 8 triangles. Transfer dough triangles to top of torta, arranging them so that their points meet in the center and they cover the filling. Tuck the curved edge of each wedge down against the dough lining the sides of the pan. (Torta may also be given a lattice top.)

Let torta rise until it looks puffy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Beat remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water; brush over wedges of dough. Sprinkle evenly with Parmigiano.

Bake until crust is richly browned and filling is set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool in pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing sides. Cut into wedges; serve warm, at room temperature or cold. Makes 8 servings.

Torta dough:
Sprinkle dry yeast over warm water in large bowl of electric mixer; add honey.

Let stand until yeast is soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in salt and 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour.

Beat at medium speed until elastic, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until smooth. Gradually beat in additional 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour to make a soft dough.

Beat in butter, a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stir dough down, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes before shaping.

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