This is another dish that Cindy had made us and it’s from Whitewater Cooks by Shelley Adams.  We thought it should be called ‘Torta Magnifico’, it’s that’s good! but admittedly, it does take a fair amount of time to prepare.  I made all 3 ‘parts’ the day before so the day of the dinner there wasn’t much to do…as for the torta itself, the easiest way to think of it is, 7 tortillas and 6 layers of 6 different evenly sliced roasted vegetables – voila!  I started with the tomato sauce, sliced the other vegetables while the tomatoes were roasting and started assembling layers and mixed up the aioli while the rest of the vegetable slices were roasting.  You can do it!  It’s so worth it!

Torta Rustica

Tomato-Chipotle SauceTorta Rustica

10 tomatoes, quartered

1 large red onion, sliced and separated

6 whole cloves of garlic

1/4 c. olive oil

2 T. brown sugar

1 good-sized chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment and fill it with the tomatoes, onion and garlic and then drizzle it all with the olive oil and sprinkle the brown sugar over all.  Roast for about an hour at 350, stirring every 20 minutes or so until it’s starting to caramelize and it’s well cooked and juicy.  Allow it to cool for a while before pureeing in a food processor.  Once the tomato mixture is well blended, add in the chipotle pepper and cilantro and give it another pulse or two.  Set aside until you need it or refrigerate it in a container until you need it and then warm it up slightly before you use it.

Lemon-Basil Aioli

1 c. mayonnaise AND 2 T. fresh lemon juice AND 1/2 c. chopped fresh basil

2 + T. milk or cream

Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice and basil and mix well.  If you’re not using it right away then put it into a container and refrigerate it straight away.  Before you use it, you’ll probably have to thin it a bit with milk – you can decide.

Torta

7, 10-inch tortillas – a mix of red and green is nice

1 c. pesto – I used pesto from a jar

12 oz. goat cheese

3 cups grated mozzarella

olive oil

2 T. fresh rosemary, chopped

6 different layers of vegetables – I recommend the following;

yam (about 1 lb.) + red onion (1 large) + red pepper (2 large)

yellow pepper (2 large) + zucchini (about 1 lb.) + eggplant (about 1 lb.)

plain potato is fine too or just substitute in your favorite vegetable into any layer

Prepare all of the vegetables and slice to the same thickness so that your layers will be even.  Toss with some olive oil and the fresh rosemary and roast at 350 on parchment covered cookie sheets for about 20 minutes.

To assemble, spray a 10-inch spring form pan and lay down a tortilla.  I found that the easiest way to layer it up was to spread some goat cheese on the tortilla, layer on one kind of roasted vegetable, drizzle a tablespoon or two of pesto over top and then sprinkle with a bit of the mozzarella.  Cover with a tortilla (of a different color if you’re using 2 colors) and repeat so that you have six layers of vegetables and a plain tortilla on top.  This should just fill your spring form pan.

Rub the entire top tortilla with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then sprinkle liberally with mozzarella.  Cover tightly with foil and then you can refrigerate it until the next day at this point.

When you want to bake it, make sure it’s been out of the fridge for a couple of hours so that it’s at room temperature, leave the foil on and place the whole pan on a parchment covered baking sheet – it will most likely leak some juice while cooking.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour and then remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes with the foil still in place.

I found that removing the side of the spring form and then cutting the whole torta into slices (carefully), before removing any of them, was the easiest way to get it out.

To serve, spread a spoonful of warm tomato sauce on each plate, then a slice of torta and then drizzle a bit of aioli over all.  Enjoy – and again, it’s SO worth it!  We enjoyed this with a Brock barbecued steak and asparagus, but it would be just as grand on it’s own.

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