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Cheesy Swiss Chard Savory Pie | Italian “Torta Rustica” Recipe

This version of “torta rustica,” a broad category of Italian savory pies, is made with a cheesy Swiss chard filling that’s so good, you’ll have to resist eating it all before the pie is even made! The pie improves after sitting overnight, so this is a great recipe to make in advance.

Cheesy Swiss Chard Savory Pie | Italian “Torta Rustica” Recipe

A Quick Note on Ingredients

It can be tricky to estimate how much Swiss chard you’ll need to fill the pie, as the greens wilt considerably during the cooking process. We’ve found that 2.5 lbs (~1kg) is a pretty safe bet. That’s usually about 3 of the bundles that are commonly available in grocery shops. However, it can never hurt to have extra and the “stuffing” can be eaten as a side dish, so we recommend airing on the side of cooking a little more.

The Swiss shard should be prepped by separating the leaves from the stems. Often the stems have a slightly tough skin toward the bottom which can be peeled off with a paring knife, if you wish.

There is no right amount of grated Parmigiano cheese and bread crumbs to add into the Swiss chard. There is, however, a wrong amount which is too little. Don’t be shy! More cheese can only make the dish better.

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make Swiss chard torta rustica here:


Makes: One 9-inch pie

Cook Time: Up to 3 hours

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups (300g) bread flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the pie pan

  • 2/3 cup (160ml) water, adjusted as needed

  • Salt

  • 2.5 lbs (1.1kg) Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated (see note above)

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled

  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to taste

  • Bread crumbs to taste

  • Mixing bowl

  • Plastic wrap

  • Large pot

  • Large skillet

  • Basting brush

  • Rolling pin

Combine the flour and 2 tbsp olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add water while mixing by hand until a firm dough forms. Note that the amount of water needed can vary, so you may require slightly more or less.

Knead the dough on a clean work surface until it is smooth and even. Place it back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, up to 24 hours, at room temperature. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it generously. Add the Swiss chard stems and boil until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the leaves next and boil a further 2-3 minutes. Drain completely.

Heat the remaining olive oil and garlic clove in a large skillet over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the boiled Swiss chard and sauté for 5-10 minutes, or until most of the excess moisture has burned off. Lower the heat and add a very generous grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Stir it into the greens until the cheese has melted, then add a generous dusting of breadcrumbs and stir these in as well. Taste the greens, they should be cheesy and delicious! If not, add more cheese.

After the dough has rested, brush a 9-inch pie dish with olive oil and preheat an oven to 390 degrees F (200 C).

Cut 2/3 of the dough off and keep the remaining 1/3 wrapped in plastic. Roll this portion out on a lightly dusted surface until it is very thin and can easily cover the pie dish with plenty of overhang. The dough should be quite elastic, which means you can even stretch it out a bit by hand.

Drape the dough into the pie dish and pack it with Swiss chard stuffing up to the rim. Roll the remaining dough out to the same thickness and use this to cover the top. Trim the overhanging edges and roll/press them inward to seal the pie shut.

Brush the entire top crust with olive oil and poke a few holes in the top with a fork. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Serve warm or cold. Leftovers should be kept at room temperature for one day. After that, you can keep it in the fridge for a day or two more.

Buon appetito!

Want to explore more types of Italian savory pies? One of the best places to start is with the incredible Pizza Chiena!

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