Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pancetta and Parmesan Torte

I caught Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network last week and this so excited me. I'm sure you know who Giada is..... the hot brunette that wears tight clothing to emphasize her chest and has perfectly manicured nails as a cook. Hmm. I digress....It is so simple with only 10 minutes of prep and 25 minutes of low maintenance oven time. It looks beautiful but the taste is only so-so. The torte was on the bland side and it was missing something. Perhaps it is because I substituted zucchini for the pancetta. I'm not sure. It wasn't bad. It was definitely edible but it wasn't great either. I was disappointed.

Serves 6
Time: 35 minutes

-1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package), room temperature
-1 teaspoon olive oil
-4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
-2/3 c whipping cream
-1/2 c whole milk
-3 large eggs
-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
-2/3 c shredded Parmesan

My modifications
First, I could not for the life of me find a store that carried refrigerated pie crust and I went to 3 stores. To be fair, I did find Pillsbury Pie Crust but it had lard in it and really toxic preservatives in it so there was no way I could purchase it. I ended up buying a good quality frozen pie crust. I don't eat meat so I substituted the pancetta with 4 oz of zucchini which I sauteed lightly and cooled before putting into the egg mixture. I did not add any salt. The salt would have been over kill, especially if you end up using pancetta. The salt from the cheese alone should be enough.

Position the rack on the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Press the crust into a 9-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the edges; set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta (in my case zucchini) and saute until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta (zucchini) to paper towels and drain. Beat the cream, milk, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese and pancetta. Pour the cream mixture into the crust.
Bake the torte until the filling puffs and is golden brown on top, about 25 minutes. Let the torte cool for 15 minutes.

Admittedly, I should have probably used 4 eggs because the eggs I had were on the medium side. And as you can see from the picture above, it did not exactly fill out the pie crust. I placed the pie in the bottom third of my oven and after 25 minutes, I found that it was runny and not golden brown. I know that at this point that I was supposed to take it out to set but I'm not sure that it would have. So I moved it to the top rack for 3.5 minutes and it firmed up.

I am an egg person. I am a quiche person. Reviewers of this recipe gave it 5 stars (even people who substituted the pancetta with veggies). I am giving it a two. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to make it but I wouldn't make it again.

Looks are deceiving.

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