This Torta Rustica is my signature savory dish. I love making this for special occasions—and people enjoy it so much that I usually make 2 or 3 at a time. If we’re not going to eat them all at once, it’s not a big deal because they happen to freeze incredibly well. Just take it out of the freezer the night before you want to bake it and let it thaw in the fridge. 

“But Mary, what’s a Torta Rustica?”

Also known as “Pizza Rustica,” Torta Rustica is a traditional savory pie with roots in Italy. Traditionally served at Easter gatherings in southern Italy, Torta Rustica recipes marry elements of quiche, pot pie, and pizza for a super-hearty dish that is absolutely unforgettable. 

The crust (and therefore the dough) in this recipe is at least as important as the filling: It has to be strong enough to hold the abundant goodness inside, yet tender and flaky enough to be enticing. My dough recipe checks all the boxes—plus, it’s super easy to make and to mold into your springform pan.

How do you decorate a Torta Rustica?

My husband's family loves this dish so much that they ask me to bring it to Christmas every year. I oblige, of course… and you know how much I love holidays! If you’re making one for a special occasion, I recommend decorating the top of your pie with cut-out shapes from the leftover dough. Use cookie cutters or trim them by hand according to the holiday or season. 

What sides do you serve with a Torta Rustica?

The best thing about this recipe? No sides necessary. When you serve this for dinner, it's all you need. Whether you make it vegetarian or add some ham or prosciutto, a Torta Rustica is delicious and absolutely beautiful. 

When you cut into it, you see colorful layers of spinach, fontina cheese, sun dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes, tortellini, and pimentos or roasted red peppers. 

Add my Classic Marinara Sauce 

I can honestly say I don’t know anyone who hasn't gone crazy for this pie. Make it once and it’s going to be in your repertoire forever. Serve it with a side of my classic, “Go-to” Marinara recipe for an extra burst of flavor, and remember to let your Torta Rustica rest for 30 minutes before cutting into it—this allows the filling to set. 
Be prepared to wow with this one!

Yield: 16
Torta Rustica Recipe

Torta Rustica Recipe

This savory Italian pie is a signature dish at Easter time, but it’s too good not to serve it year round. You’ll need a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, cubed and set at room temperature for 15 minutes
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 48 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fresh herbed breadcrumbs
  • 4 large eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Additional filling options
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pimentos, drained and patted dry
  • ½ pound frozen tortellini, thawed
  • ½ pounds sliced fontina cheese
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, softened in warm water, drained and patted dry or
  • 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained (a little oil is fine)
  • 8 ounces artichoke heart quarters, drained and patted dry
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream


For the Dough
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, salt, and a little of the cubed butter. Mix on low speed, slowly adding the remaining butter cubes, until small crumbs form.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and milk. Mixing on medium speed, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Mix on low until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 45 minutes in the refrigerator.
Preparing the Torta
  1. Thoroughly drain the frozen spinach and squeeze out extra moisture with a paper towel or two.
  2. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and spinach. Sauté until onions are translucent but not browned.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the spinach, onion, parmesan, breadcrumbs, and eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Line the bottom of your 9-inch springform pan with a round piece of parchment paper, then spray the side of the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  5. Divide the chilled dough. You’ll need a little more than half for the bottom and side of the springform pan.
  6. Lightly flour a work area and roll out one piece into a 14-inch circle. Fold the dough into fourths so you can easily pick it up and place it in the prepared pan. Gently unfold the dough and press it to adhere to the pan side. The dough should go all the way up the side of the pan. If you have any tears in the pastry don’t fret! Just use a little extra dough to mend any tears in the dough.
  7. Layer your filling ingredients into the crust. Assuming you chose the same fillings I did, here’s my suggested layering order:
  8. ½ of the spinach mix,
  9. ⅓ of the fontina cheese,
  10. tortellini,
  11. pimento,
  12. another ⅓ of the fontina cheese,
  13. artichoke hearts,
  14. sun-dried tomatoes,
  15. the last of the fontina cheese,
  16. and the remaining spinach mix.
  17. Roll out the remaining dough and place it on top of the torta, sealing the pie by pinching the edges of the top and bottom together.
  18. Roll out any remnants of dough and cut into shapes to decorate your torta. Arrange the decorations on a separate, parchment-lined sheet pan. Refrigerate the torta and decorations overnight.
Baking Your Torta Rustica
  1. When you’re ready to bake your torta, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place the springform pan containing the torta on top of a parchment-lined baking pan.
  2. For the glaze, mix the egg and cream. Brush the egg mixture over the entire surface of the torta.
  3. Arrange the decorative cut-outs on top and brush them with glaze, too.
  4. Bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes or until the torta is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, you can remove the springform ring—just make sure to do it carefully!
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.


You can freeze unbaked tortas for up to a month. Just remove the torta from the freezer the night before you plan to bake it. Let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Your thawed torta may take a little longer to bake all the way through. In my experience, somewhere between an hour and 15 minutes or 1½ hours does the trick. If the top is getting too brown, cover it with a piece of foil for the last half hour of baking. Enjoy! 

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April 23, 2021 — Mary DiSomma