Torta pascualina is originally an Italian pie that has taken up residence in Argentina and Uraguay as a popular Easter dish. Whenever you serve this, it’s a delicious combination of cheeses, spinach and egg, wrapped up in crisp pastry. This recipe was created in partnership with the dairy farm families of New England.
I originally came across this pie years ago and made it when my now 5 year old was less than a year old. I remember parking him on a mat in the kitchen with a few things to play with while I put it together. Given the general haze of that time (he wasn’t a sleeper), I don’t remember much about it. I do remember it was tasty, and that the filling was great for little mouths to try, and that I must make it again. Well, as you can see it took a while, but I’m so glad to re-acquaint myself.
For many cultures, Easter foods are a way to celebrate spring and being together with family. Some give up meat or other things for Lent, so Easter itself can be enjoying those things again. This dish can fit in throughout the Easter period, with fresh greens, eggs and cheese, it’s great meatless meal in shareable form.
While this is traditionally an Easter dish, it’s made with things that are available year round. Dairy is fresh, local and always in season. It is also such a core part of our New England economy and landscape. I love all the great local cheese products here, with new ones appearing in my local store fairly regularly. Plus while you might think of cheese as a bit of an indulgence, it’s also a great source of protein, vitamin D, calcium and potassium. And the combination of cheeses here gives this pie great flavor and texture.
How it’s made
Probably not too surprisingly given the origins of this spinach and ricotta pie, there are a few ways to make it. Some use puff pastry, others shortcrust. The cheeses can vary a little, some mix spinach and chard while others are just spinach, and some use peppers. I have used homemade shortcrust (the whole wheat crust form my Australian pie, leftover turkey pie with raisins and bechamel), but I’ve given the option of using puff pastry for ease in the recipe. I used a range of cheese that brings out all the tasty flavor, and frozen spinach as it’s just a lot easier than wilting down a huge heap of fresh.
After you sauté the onion and garlic, add the drained spinach, a little nutmeg then let it cool before mixing with the blend of cheeses and an egg. Fill your pie base then make indents in the filling for some eggs. Cover with the top layer of pastry, seal up and bake. Don’t forget to slit the top to let a little air through.
This torta pascualina is a great dish for sharing with a crowd. You can serve it warm or cold, in big or small pieces. The flavors are not strong, but they’re gently comforting. It’s the sort of dish that’s perfect for an Easter brunch or any time you want something to share that’s not your basic green salad. Which, let’s face it, is more often than you think.
Torta pascualina (spinach ricotta pie)
- 2 sheets puff pastry or use shortcrust pastry or empanada dough
- 20 oz frozen spinach 566g (2 x 10oz packets)
- 1 onion small, or 1/2 large
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup ricotta 240g
- 1 cup mozzarella 120g
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 6 eggs
- Lightly oil/butter the inside of your pie dish. Roll out one piece of pastry to approx 1/8in/3mm thick (or a bit thicker, as you prefer). Turn over your pie dish and use the top to cut the top layer for the pie. Set this aside. Roll out the other piece of pastry, adding in the scraps from before if needed to make large enough, and use this to line the pie dish. Trim the edges.
- Defrost the spinach according to packet instructions and squeeze out excess liquid.
- Preheat oven to 350F/175C.
- Finely dice the onion and garlic. Warm the oil in a medium skillet over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook a couple minutes until softening then add the garlic. Cook a couple more minutes until onion is translucent.
- Add the spinach and nutmeg to the onion and stir well. Feel free to add a little salt and pepper as well, if you like. Set the pan aside to cool.
- Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan and 1 egg in a bowl. Add the cooled spinach mixture and mix well. Fill the pie dish and spread evenly.
- Use the back of a spoon to make 5 indents in the filling - you will probably need to make them deeper than you might think - then crack an egg into each of them. Brush around the edge of the bottom pastry layer with water then carefully put the top layer of pastry over the pie. Press together the edges and put two slits as air holes in the middle. Lightly brush the top with milk.
- Bake the pie for approximately 50 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool a little before slicing. Serve slices warm or cold.
It’s Pi(e) Day, and so we’re taking the excuse to share, well…pie! See all the tasty recipes below.
Pi Day Pie Recipes
- Beef Stew Pot Pie with Homemade Puff Pastry Topping by Amy’s Cooking Adventures
- Brownie Mint Pie by Family Around The Table
- Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie by Strawberry Blondie Kitchen
- Chocolate Mint Pie by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart by The Redhead Baker
- Chocolate Velvet Pie with Meringue Crust by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Cinnamon Streusel Topped Carrot Pie by Cooking With Carlee
- Coconut Chess Pie by The Spiffy Cookie
- Crazy Easy No Bake Key Lime Pie by Jonesin’ For Taste
- Easy Buttermilk Pie Recipe by West Via Midwest
- Easy Lemon Pie by Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids
- Lamb, Basmati Rice, and Grape Leaf Pi(e) by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Mini Lemon Meringue Pies by Cookaholic Wife
- Mixed Berry Mini Pies by Bear & Bug Eats
- Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie by Everyday Eileen
- Shamrock Shake Pie by Kate’s Recipe Box
- Smoked Salmon and Herb Pie by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Strawberry Lemonade Pie by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Strawberry Pie by Palatable Pastime
- Torta Pascualina (Spinach Ricotta Pie) by Caroline’s Cooking (you’re here!)
- Upside Down Apple Pie by Jolene’s Recipe Journal
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