Neapolitan ricotta pasta tart

Neapolitan ricotta pasta tart

Torta di pasta tipo pastiera

By
From
Pasta
Serves
6 or more
Photographer
Laura Edwards

The pastiera is one of the best-known tarts in the south of Italy, especially in Campania, where Neapolitan artisan bakers produce this speciality in great quantities. It has an Easter connection because using cooked wheat grains has a religious significance. Here I have substituted the usual grain with small pasta and the result is surprisingly good.

Pastry

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g plain flour
125g lard, cut into small chunks
A pinch salt
25g caster sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
unsalted butter, for greasing

Filling

Quantity Ingredient
250g dried fregola pasta
salt
3 medium eggs
125g caster sugar
3 tablespoons orange-blossom water
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
350g fresh ricotta cheese, sheep’s milk, preferably
75g candied citron peel, roughly chopped
75g candied orange peel, roughly chopped
icing sugar, for dusting

Method

  1. For the pastry, sift the flour on to your work surface, and work in the lard until the texture is like crumbs. Mix in the salt and sugar. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the beaten egg. Gradually work the flour into the egg until you have a smooth pastry. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Cook the pasta in plenty of lightly salted boiling water for 9 minutes (instead of 12) or until still al dente. Drain and set aside.
  4. Separate the eggs and whisk the whites to a stiff white snow in a large bowl. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, then add the orange-blossom water, cinnamon, ricotta, citron and orange peel. Mix thoroughly, then mix in the pasta. Fold in the beaten egg white.
  5. Lightly grease a baking tin of 18cm diameter, 7–8cm high. Roll out the pastry to 1mm thick, then use this to line the bottom and sides of the tin. Leave some pastry to cut into long strips for a lattice on top of the filling, if liked.
  6. Pour the pasta and ricotta mixture into the tin, cutting the excess pastry from around the rim. Cover with lattice strips if you like. Bake the tart in the preheated oven for 45–50 minutes until set and golden. Leave it to cool and set. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve in small wedges. Buona Pasqua.
Tags:
Antonio
Carluccio
pasta
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