Late spring heralds a bountiful harvest of crisp green spinach. Combine a generous bunch with a selection of cheeses in this easy Italian vegetarian torte for a tasty evening family meal. Serve with radicchio and fennel salad for an extra fresh bite.
20g butter, melted
¼ cup dry breadcrumbs
400g mini penne
200g gorgonzola or creamy blue vein cheese, crumbled
1 cup finely grated pecorino or parmesan
2 eggs, whisked
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 bunch silverbeet, stalks removed, shredded
¼ cup currants
¼ cup pinenuts
1 egg, whisked (extra)
2 tbsp finely grated pecorino (extra)
1 radicchio, leaves removed and washed
2 baby fennel, shaved or thinly sliced
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Preheat oven to 200C. Brush a 22cm springform cake tin with melted butter and add breadcrumbs. Shake breadcrumbs in pan until coated. Discard extra breadcrumbs.
2 Cook pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water as per packet instructions, or until tender. Drain and cool. Return pasta to saucepan. Add gorgonzola, pecorino or parmesan and eggs. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir until well combined.
3 Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes or until soft. Add silverbeet, currants and pinenuts. Cover and cook for 2 minutes or until silverbeet is wilted. Transfer to a colander to drain. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from silverbeet mixture. Combine in a bowl with the extra egg.
4 Spoon half the pasta mixture into prepared cake tin. Spread pasta evenly over base of pan and press firmly. Top with silverbeet mixture, spreading and pressing over pasta. Top with remaining pasta and press firmly. Sprinkle extra pecorino over top of torte. Bake for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch and golden on top. Stand for 10 minutes before releasing clip and removing torte. Serve with radicchio and fennel salad.
5 To make salad. Combine radicchio and fennel in a bowl. Combine oil and vinegar in a jug. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dress salad just before serving.