Spinach Torta Rustica~

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Torta dough:

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (105-115º)

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

2 eggs

1/2 cup butter (one stick), at room temperature


Filling:

1 10-ounce package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 egg yolk

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

A few grinds of black pepper

A few grates of fresh nutmeg or a pinch of ground nutmeg

1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water


To prepare the torta dough, sprinkle yeast over warm water in bowl of stand mixer fit with paddle attachment.  Add honey and let stand for 5 minutes.  Mix in salt and 1/2 cup flour.  Beat for about 3 minutes on medium speed.


Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.  Gradually beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour to make a soft dough.  Beat in butter, one tablespoon at a time.  Place dough in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm place till doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Make filling while dough rises.


To make filling, saute onion in olive oil till soft and lightly browned.  Stir in garlic and cook for less than a minute.  Mix in spinach and remove from heat.


In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolk.  Mix in ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add spinach mixture.


Punch down risen dough.  Divide into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other.  On a floured surface, roll larger piece into an 8 inch circle.  Fit into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan.  Spread evenly with filling.


Roll the rest of the dough into a 9-inch square.  Cut square into 9 or 10 strips.  Weave strips over the top of the filling to make a lattice pattern.  Tuck the ends of the dough down around the filling.


Preheat oven to 375º.  Let torta rise for 15-20 minutes till dough puffs up slightly.  Brush top of dough with egg beaten with water. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.


Bake for 40-45 minutes, till browned.  Cool for 5 minutes, then remove rim.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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