[Glorious Food and Wine is currently on holiday in Brazil (yey!). This is a republication of a post originally published in January 2006]
The first thing I do when buying a new cooking book is identifying my top ten recipes to try out in the shortest amount of time possible. With ‘The Cook’s Book’ finally in the house it was not difficult to identify a couple of ‘must tries’. True, the book is a little difficult to handle as it weighs quite a bit and counts over 600 recipe pages. So I had to short list the recipes in the living room and then try out the magic in the kitchen. My first choice was a Tortino, which is an Italian savoury pie. I chose the recipe not only because it contains eggs, among my favourite produce around, but also because I could use all the greens I still had in the house. A very versatile recipe, you can add any vegetables you like as it all mixes very well together.
For my pie I substituted the aubergines used in the original recipe with green peas. I love aubergines, but there were none to be found in the house. Also struggling with the post New Year reality I am now back to veggies and fruit so I decided to cook the Tortino using less olive oil than suggested, and the double cream was substituted by light cream. But to stick to the original, here the recipe (serves 4 as main course):
8tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1 large aubergine, peeled, quartered and cut into slices
2 courgettes cut into rounds
1tsp sea salt
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
240ml double cream
100gr freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 160°C (in my case gas mark 3). In a medium pan heat the 2 tbsp olive oil, add the onion and sauté, until tender and golden. Put aside.
In the same pan, heat 4tbsp olive oil, add the aubergine and sauté for 3-4min, then add the courgettes, and continue stirring until both are tender.
Transfer the vegetables to the onions, season.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add 2tbsp olive oil, the vinegar, cream, two-thirds of the cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well and stir in the vegetables;
Use the remaining olive oil to grease a round or square baking dish. Add the egg mixture. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35min.
Sprinkle the tortino with the remaining cheese, return to the oven and continue to bake uncovered. Serve either warm or cold.
I very much enjoyed this dish and plan to cook it again, as it is easy to cook, healthy enough (when substituting the right way) and it makes for very delicious lunches. A fresh rucola salad on the side, and it is like being for a moment in Italy.