The wonderful flavor and lovely look of this cheese and vegetable pie is worth the bit of extra effort it takes to prepare it. The butternut squash adds a subtle sweetness that's irresistible. Slices make a great appetizer, or serve it with soup or salad as a light meal. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 1 small butternut squash (1-1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
- Preheat oven to 400°. Place squash slices on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly spritz with cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine two eggs, cheeses and sage. In a small bowl, whisk water and remaining egg; set aside.
- In a large skillet, saute onion in oil until tender. Stir in the spinach, garlic and nutmeg. Cook and stir for 2 minutes; set aside.
- Unfold one pastry sheet onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 14-in. square. Press onto bottom and up sides of a greased 9-in. springform pan, allowing excess pastry to drape over edges. Brush with reserved egg mixture.
- Layer with half of the squash, cheese mixture and spinach. Repeat layers. Roll out the remaining pastry into a 10-in. square; place over filling. Trim edges; fold the bottom pastry over the top and press edges to seal. Reroll pastry trimmings. Cut out with a small leaf cookie cutter; place on torte. Brush pastry with egg mixture.
- Place pan on baking sheet. Bake at 400° 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire rack to cool for 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Autumn Torte Rustica in Halloween Party Favorites 2009 2009, p41
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