After reading through the recipe and directions about a week ago for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie foray, all that kept popping into my mind was ‘Italian quiche.’ And now that I’ve had a few bites of this sweet and savory pie – it really does remind me of quiche, without quite so many eggs.
But it also reminds me of a ‘fritata’ that I had while I was living with a family for a month just on the border of Florence and Fiesole, Mamma Pasquini’s casa, a couple of summers ago. Mamma Pasquini brought out this pie out for dinner on a very hot July night and called it a fritata, but I remember questioning her (in my somewhat limited conversational Italian) because the first thing I noticed with this fritata was that there was a crust. I also distinctly remember her raised eyebrows at my questioning and her response, ‘Allora, cosa una fritata… Fritata Mamma Pasquini. Va bene?’ Well, all was benissimo once I had a bite of her delicious concoction. There was definitely egg, ricotta, parmigiano reggiano, and salty bits of the prosciutto she brought home earlier in the week, her winnings at a card game with her amiche vecchie (old, as in age but this is how she referred to them, friends). I remember her coming back with an entire leg of prosciutto late one night, and I couldn’t quite understand what she was doing so late, with such a large piece of meat, but Mamma’s niece, who was also staying at the house, translated with much laughter and said, ‘she won it!’
I was excited to then make this recipe to see if the recipe came anywhere close to the delicious simplicity of Mamma’s not quite fritataish pie, and was pleased with the results! I was excited to be able to use the food processor, which was a birthday gift last year from my mother, to speed up the process with the pasta frolla. And noting other’s comments about the crust being too sweet, I did not use the full 1/3 cup of sugar, probably about half the amount. I am a huge fan of sweet and salty combinations, but on the sweet side I do prefer the subtle intimation of sugar.
I did chill my dough for a bit in the fridge after it came together, I didn’t have time to finish the whole pizza at once. And it did crumble a bit at the edges when I was rolling it out, but I try and not worry too much about what won’t be seen, and I just pressed it back together in the pie plate. The filling came together in a pinch, and I used some deliciously salty parmigiano reggiano instead of the pecorino. Then it was on to the lattice work.
A latticed top anything was new territory and I was a little worried about how it might turn out, as my kitchen ruler/straight edge has gone astray. I knew the lattice pieces wouldn’t be entirely straight or perfectly even in size, and the dough just wasn’t holding together all that well. So I didn’t even try to basket weave the lattice, just laid it across. But all in all was pretty pleased with how that part turned out. Again, I was thankful for the ridged pastry cutter that was a Christmas gift from my mother!
After about an hour in the oven it was finally set, and smelled heavenly! We had it for dinner with a nice spinach salad to cut through the richness of the pizza. And best of all it was deliciously close to Mamma Pasquini’s Fritata! I’m happy to have a recipe that is similar to one of her memorable meals on those molto caldo nights in Italia.
If you’re interested in the recipe for this week check out the great hosts sites for this week: Capitol Region Dining and The Place They Call Home! Or better yet, buy the book: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan and bake along.