Savoury pies, yum yum! Love ’em and these are so heartily delicious and satisfying. Once again the Cooking the Chef challenge has helped me discover a wonderful bake by this month’s Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo, full of energy with his cheerful slogan ‘Why am I cooking so good!’ He’s great friends with Carluccio and Jaime Oliver. They must have a wonderful time together talking about and creating food with great love and joy. Italian pies are always amazing making superb use of basic quality ingredients and delicious warm or cold for a picnic. The super yummy filling of jar-preserved artichokes, white butter beans, egg and parmesan cheese rests on a lovely layer of sliced potatoes. It’s adapted for a vegetarian friend by substituting the chopped parma ham with rosemary that provides a fragrant almost meaty flavour. For a vegan version replace the egg with a little vegetable stock or bean juice and use non-dairy cheese and milk. These rustic pies were wrapped in my simple torta di verdura pastry made with just water, oil and spelt, glutenfree or bread flours. Perhaps you’d like to try an individual glutenfree artichoke, bean and potato pie? With that delicious rosemary flavour… yum!
These pies are an adaptation of the Torta salata con fave é carciofi by Gennaro Contaldo found on his website. Butter beans replace the broad beans I couldn’t find and rosemary is used instead of chopped parma ham but you can use the original ingredients or substitute with others. I included small pieces of Chinese sausage in some of my second prototypes. So yummy. Pies are very flexible but it’s best to have much more artichoke than potato. Too much potato will dominate the special artichoke flavour that really makes these pies. Thus the ‘artichoke’ shapes on the latest batch. 🙂
Healthier, glutenfree and vegan options
You can use artichokes preserved in water rather than oil for a lighter version. I tried this for the last prototypes and the pies were just as delicious. Next time I’ll try steaming the potatoes 10-15 minutes rather than roasting.
Unlike Gennaro I make a simple Italian pastry with no yeast. The pastry with 100% gluten free Doves Farm self raising flour is crumbly and not as elastic so more difficult to handle and best used for small individual pies rather than large ones where rolled pastry can fall apart en route (if it does then just roll out again).
Alternatively make the pastry with a mix of gluten free and spelt, plain or bread flour. These first prototypes with half bread flour and half 00 had a delicious more bread-like slightly chewy pastry that was very easy to roll and handle.
For a vegan pie use non dairy milk and cheese (or leave out the cheese) and replace the egg yolk with bean liquid or a little vegetable stock.
My torta di verdura pastry recipe is here.
Quantities are for 2 small/medium-sized pies or 6 – 8 individual ones.
- 400g/14oz flour (3 and 1/4 cups glutenfree flour OR 3 cups less 7 tsp bread flour OR your own flour mix)
- pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 236g/1 cup mineral water (sparkling is nice but not essential), then add a little more water or flour if needed
Make a well in the combined flour(s) and salt, stir in the oil and water to make a soft dough. Knead a little and add water or flour as needed. The dough should be smooth and elastic (unless it’s glutenfree). Wrap pastry tightly in plastic film and rest 30 mins to 1 hour or more in the fridge.
- Base: 3 small/medium-sized potatoes (about 300g/10.5oz)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 banana shallot, finely chopped (or 1/3 – 1/2 medium onion)
- 3 egg yolks (about 58-60g) from medium-sized free-range eggs (or about 3 tbsp vegetable stock/bean liquid)
- 3 tbsp milk (or almond milk)
- 40g/1.4oz grated parmesan cheese (or hard vegan cheese)
- 1 jar of artichokes preserved in oil or water (285g/10oz jar – about 170g/6oz or more after draining)
- 150g/5.3oz white beans from a jar, drained (or broad beans)
- 1 to 1 and 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 70g/2.5oz Parma ham/jamón serrano, finely chopped)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- a little extra virgin olive oil for brushing
- Peel and slice the potatoes (about 1cm thick). Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake 10 – 15 minutes until the potatoes are lightly golden and done (soft when you prick with a fork). Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Fry the shallots on low in a little oil until transparent. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Whisk the egg (or vegetable stock), milk and cheese.
- Stir in the beans, drained artichoke, chopped rosemary and other ingredients like ham.
- Season with a little salt and pepper and taste to see if you need more.
Assembling and baking
- Grease inside of the pie/tart rings or tins with a little olive oil and arrange on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F (fan or convection oven) or 210°C/ 410°F (static oven)
Roll out pastry and line tart rings or moulds, leaving some pastry hanging over the edge. You can see the gluten free pastry is a bit hard to handle but it is possible.
Place slices of potato on the bottom, with some space between them – there’s too much potato in the ones in the photo, no need to cover the whole base.
Cover with a lid of pastry and form a well-sealed rim to make sure no filling will get out. Brush with a little olive oil.
Bake in the middle of the oven 20 – 30 minutes until light golden brown.
The bigger pies take less time to make but lifting the pastry needs more care. The ones in the photo have white spelt pastry. Use a knife to help you carefully push the pastry in and up to shape a rustic rim. If there are tears or holes then patch up with thin layers of extra pastry.
Eating and storing
Delicious eaten warm (try to wait at least 20 minutes when out of the oven) or at room temperature. They keep 3 or 4 days in the fridge – bring back to room temperature 30 minutes or so before eating. They should freeze very well wrapped tightly in plastic film or beeswax wrapper, for up to 1-2 months. Reheat straight from frozen in an oven at medium temperature 15 to 20 minutes or longer (cut to check they’re not cold inside before serving).
Thank you very much, mille grazie chef Gennaro Contaldo! We love this pie!
Gennaro Contaldo and the challenge
Gennaro is a well-known Italian chef also famed for having taught Jaime Oliver all he knows about Italian cooking. Gennaro started working at local restaurants in Minori, along the Amalfi coast, at the tender age of eight! You can read about his amazing culinary career in this wikipedia article describing his love for foraging food, his restaurants, cookbooks, TV appearances or programmes and his highly successful youtube channel. Oh and in 2013 he broke the world record for making ravioli by folding an impressive 24 parcels in 2 minutes!! 🙂
Loved this straightforward tasty recipe and look forward to making more of his stuff – you’ll be able to see many other Gennaro dishes here (https://cookingthechef.blogspot.com/2018/07/junio-2018-gennaro-contaldo-vuestros.html) at the Cooking the Chef website. Thank you Aisha and Abril for this very enjoyable challenge!
We were very happy eating all the artichoke, bean and potato pie prototypes and hope you’ll make some too! They’re perfect for snacks, light meals and picnics! Yum…
Can’t beat a good pie! 😉
Farewell dear savoury reader! Have a lovely week with some yummy baking and food outings! 🙂 Lili x
P.S. On a sourdough baking course in the UK right now! More about that later! 🙂 Or see my Instagram account… xx
Thank you Lili for your lovely recipe. This artichoke pie seems tasteful and surely delicious. Thanks for your participation, words and cool pictures. Have a good summer and expecting see you during the “refishing time” (exists that concept? retake?) or in september. Kisses
This looks so delicious 💖🌸
Most unusual, Lili. What (though not necessary) does sparkling mineral water do for the pastry? I usually brush my pies with egg wash. Wouldn’t mind using olive oil as it wouldn’t waste an egg. Can I use it for all pies?