Making Torta di Bietola

Though this Italian pie is made with Swiss chard (“bietola”), I should point out that the general approach I’ve laid out here can be used with a wide variety of greens (spinach, broccoli rabe, etc.). Or you can banish the vegetables entirely, add more cheese, diced ham and/or Italian deli meats and you’ll have a torta di pasqua, an Italian Easter pie.


Torta di Bietola Recipe

These sorts of greens-based pies are common in Italian cooking, and are very similar to Easter pies, which can contain either greens bound with cheese and eggs, or meats (and eggs and cheese or savory custard). Crust-wise, these pastries can be all over the board. Standard pie crusts can be used, sheets of puff pastry, phyllo dough, you name it.

I thought it would be fun to do something a little more rustic, something I’ve seen done with classic Easter pies. Specifically, sheets of yeast dough, stretched thin by hand, buttered and laid on top of one other. It’s a glimpse into the past of laminated doughs, before the French came along with their butter pats and fancy folding techniques. You’ll need: