April is another one of those months where the complex cultural nature of my family comes into play. We'll be celebrating both Passover and Easter with equal enthusiasm, especially at the holiday table. I wanted to create a substantial and seasonal side dish that would work for both occasions - and many others, for that matter. I wanted to be able to make something ahead of time so that I could pop it in the oven when people started gathering and it would be ready to eat when we were. Combining my favorite ingredients and getting a little creative about the crust, I came up with a medley of vegetables on a crust of crumbled matzo, known as farfel, to make this Torta Primavera.
2 cups farfel
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tbl olive oil
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can quartered artichokes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup Cabot Horseradish Cheddar (any Cabot Cheddar will work), shredded
1/4 cup of milk
Preheat oven to 375º. Soak the farfel in cold water for about 10 minutes, then drain and press out excess moisture. In a large bowl, mix farfel with melted butter. In a 9" pie plate, press the farfel mixture on the bottom and up the sides to form a crust. Bake in oven until lightly browned. Set aside.
Farfel Pie Crust
Take whatever veggies you decide to use. I chopped an onion, used some leftover grated carrots I had from the salad bar, added a can of quartered artichokes, and broke the florets from a small head of cauliflower into tiny pieces. I also minced two cloves of garlic. You may want to only use one, or none at all.
In a large skillet I heated the olive oil over a medium high flame and sauteed them for about 5 -7 minutes. Then I added the white wine and continued cooking for another 5 - 7 minutes, until most of the wine had absorbed or evaporated. You can easily substitute chicken broth in this step.
Hooray for the Saute!
Cover the bottom of the farfel crust with half the grated cheddar. I used Cabot Horseradish because it's perfect with my Passover menu. Any Cabot Cheddar would work well in this dish. I can't wait to try it with Seriously Sharp or Garlic and Herb. Then add the cooked and softened veggies. Top them with the remaining cheddar. In a small bowl which the eggs and milk together and pour over the vegetable and cheese mixture. At this point, you can store the pie covered in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours and cook it whenever you're ready.
Ready for the Oven
Place in the center rack of the oven and cook for about a half an hour until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
This is a lovely side dish, which with small slices will serve 8 or 10. It would also make a delicious vegetarian entree serving 4 or 5.
Torta Primavera. Positively Perfect for Passover...or Easter
Don't be afraid to mix it up and try your favorite veggies. Next time I plan to use zucchini, spinach and tomatoes. I think the combination of artichokes and sun dried tomatoes would be pretty fabulous, too.
Let your imagination guide your torta!