This stunning cheese pie is presented like a galette or country pie. You can make this free-form or in a baking dish. Although one is enough for eight people, I found I needed another one for seconds. Vary the cheeses for different tastes and fold in cooked baby spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes or chopped green olives for layers of flavour.
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2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup cold water
1 tbsp olive oil
16 thin slices pancetta
2 cups mascarpone
2 egg yolks
1 cup grated provolone
1 cup grated Asiago
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp water
Combine flour, Parmesan cheese and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle in enough water so that pastry starts to come together. Dump into a bowl and, using your fingertips, combine gently into a smooth ball. (This prevents overprocessing the pastry). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry pancetta slices until crisp, about 2 minutes per side.
Mix together mascarpone, egg yolks and whole eggs in a bowl. Stir in provolone, Asiago, mustard and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roll out chilled pastry to fit a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or tart pan with a removable bottom, leaving about 2 inches of overhang.
Layer fried pancetta on top of crust. Spread egg and cheese mixture over top. Fold overhanging pastry over filling – it will not cover the entire top – and brush with egg wash. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is firm and crust is golden.
Suggested Wine Pairings
This torta combines some of the same ingredients, but it’s baked and filled with melted cheese, a wine-friendly profile. Specifically, it will be good with an aromatic white, such as gewurztraminer and pinot gris, especially from Alsace. -Beppi Crosariol