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Perfect match: torta Pasqualina and vermentino

Australian Gourmet Traveller wine match recipe for torta Pasqualina.

By Alice Storey
  • Serves 8
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 55 mins cooking plus resting, cooling
Torta Pasqualina
Torta Pasqualina

This traditional Easter dish comes from Liguria, on Italy's north-west coast. The dry white wines you'll find in Ligurian bars and restaurants are commonly made from the vermentino grape; in fact, you'll find vermentino across the Mediterranean from Provence (where it's known as rolle) down through the vineyards of the Tuscan coast to Sardinia, where it produces that island's best whites. As well as producing one of the best wine styles to drink with seafood (particularly charcoal-grilled oily fish such as sardines), vermentino's naturally tart, chalky acidity, lively lemony flavour and relatively neutral aromatic qualities make it a great match for savoury dishes featuring salty cheeses and slightly bitter greens. Vermentino's adaptability - it performs well in vineyards from the hills of Liguria to the baking plains of Sardinia - has stood it in good stead in the increasing number of Australian wine regions where it is now grown. The vine's heat- and drought-tolerance really impressed growers in the recent run of hot vintages endured in dry, warm climate regions such as those along the Murray River. But early reports indicate that vermentino vines have also fared well during the decidedly damp 2011 growing season.

What better to pair with a savoury Italian-style pie this Easter than a light and savoury Italian-style white wine?

Ingredients

  • 500 gm plain flour
  • 80 ml olive oil, plus extra for brushing (1/3 cup)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1.2 kg greens such as silverbeet, cavolo nero and frisée, trimmed
  • 500 gm firm ricotta, drained
  • 100 gm Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
  • 6 eggs

Method

Main
  • 1
    Combine flour and a large pinch of salt on a work surface, form a well in centre, add half the olive oil and 250ml lukewarm water, then knead until a smooth dough forms (8-10 minutes), adding a little more water if necessary. Divide dough into 10 balls, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside to rest (1 hour).
  • 2
    Heat remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add onion, sauté until tender (6-8 minutes), season to taste, set aside to cool.
  • 3
    Cook greens in boiling salted water until tender (1-2 minutes), drain, refresh (see cook’s notes p218), drain well, coarsely chop and combine in a bowl with onion, cheeses and 2 eggs. Season to taste, stir to combine.
  • 4
    Preheat oven to 190C. Oil and flour a 20cm-diameter cake tin. Roll out half the balls on a lightly floured surface to 1mm thick and line base and sides of tin, brushing with oil between each layer. Fill with greens mixture, make 4 indents in filling with the back of a spoon and crack remaining eggs into indents. Fold in pastry edges, roll remaining dough balls to 1mm thick and layer on top of pie, brushing between each with oil. Trim edges, brush top with oil and bake until golden and cooked though (40-45 minutes). Cool in tin until cool enough to touch, turn out, cool to room temperature and serve.

Notes

Drink suggestion by Max Allen