spinach torta rustica

Spinach Torta Rustica

  • Author: Flavia Scalzitti


Adapted from Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors & Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill

Thaw the frozen puff pastry overnight in the refrigerator and keep it cold until you are ready to roll it out. If it is too difficult to roll out straight out of the refrigerator, let the dough stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to soften slightly, but do not let it get too warm or it will become too sticky to roll out.


  • 1 kg (2¼ lb) pre-washed baby spinach
  • 20 grams (approx. 1½ Tablespoons) Kosher Salt (to season the cooking water for the spinach)
  • 30 ml (2 Tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, small dice
  • 8 grams (3 Tablespoons) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 small carrot, finely grated
  • 140 grams (1¼ cups) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 226 grams (approx. 1 cup) whole milk ricotta, drained
  • 4 grams (½ teaspoon) fine sea salt
  • 2 grams (1 teaspoon) black pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 490 grams (1.1 lb) package frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator (such as Pepperidge Farm)
  • All-purpose flour (to flour the work surface)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat and add in the Kosher salt. Once the salt has dissolved, add in the spinach and blanch for 1 minute. Drain the spinach through a colander and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes. Place the spinach in a large, clean dish towel and squeeze out the excess water until the spinach is as dry as possible. Transfer the spinach to a cutting board and chop it finely.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook it until it is softened and translucent, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent the onion from burning. Add in the chopped spinach and cook until heated through and tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer the onion-spinach mixture to a large mixing bowl and add in the parsley, carrot, Parmigiano-Reggiano, ricotta, sea salt, pepper, and three eggs. Using a fork, mix well and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line the bottom of  a 25 x 5 cm (10 x 2-inch) round pie dish with parchment paper.
  5. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg and set aside.
  6. On a lightly floured board, roll out one sheet of the puff pastry into a 30 cm (approx. 12-inch) round. Place the pastry into the prepared pie plate, gently pressing it into the edges. Trim the excess dough off with a knife, but leave enough dough resting on the edge of the pie dish.
  7. Spoon the spinach filling into the pastry and level it off with a spatula.
  8. Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry into a 30 x 20 cm (approx. 12 x 8-inch) rectangle. Using a knife or fluted pastry wheel, cut the pastry into twelve 1 cm (approx. ½-inch) strips. Arrange the strips to make a lattice on top of the spinach filling. Trim the excess strips off the edge and press the ends of each strip to the dough overhang using a fork or your fingers to crimp them together. Brush the lattice and the crust along the rim of the pie dish with the beaten egg.
  9. Bake the torta for 40-45 minutes, or until the puff pastry is a deep golden brown.
  10. Remove the torta from the oven and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. The flavor of the torta is best at room temperature.
  11. Storage: Store well covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If serving at room temperature, remove the torta from the refrigerator 1 hour prior to serving. The torta can also be warmed in the oven at 150°C (300°F) for a few minutes until just warmed through.