Torta di Porri (Leek Pie)
4 or more servings
1 1/2 hours, somewhat unattended
Somewhat more elegant than its more famous French cousin, which is featured in the variation. Good hot, perhaps even better warm or at room temperature, this is an ideal buffet or picnic preparation.
1 Pastry for Savory Tarts (click here for the recipe)
4 tablespoons (1 ⁄ 2 stick) butter or extra virgin olive oil, plus a little more for the tart
3 pounds leeks, trimmed, sliced, and washed
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 ⁄ 2 cup dry white wine or water
1 ⁄ 2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 ⁄ 2 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk
1 cup grated Gruyère, Cantal, Cheddar, or other firm but not dry cheese
1 ⁄ 4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Tear off a piece of foil twice as large as the crust. Fold it in half and smear it with butter or oil; lay the greased side onto the crust. Weight the foil with a pile of dried beans or rice (these can be reused for this same purpose), pie weights, or a tight-fitting skillet or saucepan—anything that will sit flat on the sur- face. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake at 350°F until the crust is a beau- tiful shade of brown, just a few minutes more. Re- move and let cool on a rack while you prepare the filling.
2. Meanwhile, put the 4 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet with a lid over medium heat. Two minutes later, add the leeks, along with a large pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the liquid and bring to a boil; cover and adjust the heat so the mixture simmers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are very soft, at least 20 minutes. If a great deal of liquid remains, remove the lid and cook over medium heat until you have a moist but not soupy mass. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then cool slightly.
3. Combine the leeks with the remaining ingredients and pile this mixture into the prebaked shell. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until almost firm and lightly browned on top; reduce the oven heat if the shell’s edges are darkening too quickly. Cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
In step 2, begin by cooking 1 ⁄ 4 pound slab bacon, cut into 1 ⁄ 4-inch cubes, until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Substitute onions (about 4 very large) for the leeks and cook in the ba- con fat as directed. Then proceed to step 3, stirring the bacon in along with the eggs.