One weekend recently I wanted to make a savory pie for dinner, using ingredients I had on hand - chicken, ricotta, and a jar of artichoke hearts. Looking for inspiration on the best way to combine them, I came across Marcella Hazan’s recipe for Artichoke Torta in a Flaky Crust in my well-thumbed copy of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. I was especially intrigued by the pastry, which uses both butter and ricotta. I adapted some of the elements from Marcella’s recipe for her torta filling to create the pie I had in mind – satisfying and delicious. —Mixie
one 10-inch pie
1 1/2 cups
unsalted butter, room temperature
fresh whole-milk ricotta
extra virgin olive oil
small yellow onion, chopped
small carrot, chopped
tender, inner stalks and leaves of celery (or a small stalk of celery, finely chopped)
small jar artichoke hearts in water (about 6), drained, halved if necessary, and thinly sliced lengthwise
Combine flour, butter, 3/4 cup ricotta, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture just comes together, then turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the chicken thighs in a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then simmer gently until cooked through (about 20 minutes). Drain. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and chop meat.
Sauté onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil until just wilted and taking on some color. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine chopped chicken, onion mixture, sliced artichoke hearts, 3/4 cup ricotta, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Add the beaten eggs, folding in lightly but thoroughly.
On a lightly floured board, roll out about two-thirds of the chilled pastry dough to fit, with some overhang, a deep, 10-inch pie plate. Transfer the pastry to the pie plate and add the filling mixture, smoothing the top. Roll out the last third of the pastry dough and place on top of the filling. Crimp the two layers of pastry together to form a good seal and slash several steam vents on the top. If desired, brush the top of the pie with an egg wash.
Bake pie for 35 – 40 minutes, until nicely browned. Cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.