feasting with friends

Spring, March Madness and Torta al Testo {Filled Focaccia} for Fiesta Friday #60

Today is a very exciting day for Angie @The Novice Gardener and her big shin-ding, Fiesta Friday. Today is the inaugural event for a new party location. It seems the party has gotten so big, it no longer made sense to rent space week after week at InLinkz. Angie has decided to take the party to a new level…a party hall! Yep, you read it right. We now get to party week after week at a brand new, self-hosted location, fiestafriday.net!

I did get a sneak peek at the new location and wait until you see what Angie has waiting for us to munch on while we mingle. Let me just say…she got real creative. :)) I’ll be co-hosting this week’s event along with Tracy @Scratch It. Tracy and I have both co-hosted multiple times, though never together (I think we’ll make a great team!). I’m excited for the opportunity to have some fun with Angie, Tracy and everyone who attends FF#60. You can click on any of the links above (as your “key” to enter the party) or here. Please note, I may be a bit late arriving to the party due to a previous commitment… but I will be making the rounds and visiting the revelers…I can’t wait to see what everyone brings. :))

Now… on to my Friday post…

Torta al Testo: Filled Focaccia It’s official. Spring has sprung! (Well, technically at 6:45 pm.) This is my absolute favorite time of year. Blossoms are bursting. Birds are chirping. It’s the time of newness. Of revival. The days are getting longer. The sun is shining higher in the sky.

I don’t know if I’m getting old and cranky, but I’m sooooo happy to say goodbye to winter. I’ve already said farewell flannel sheets. See ya later snow shovel. Sayonara soups and stews. Au revoir scarves and boots. Arrivederci all things winter!

Torta al Testo: Filled FocacciaI’m aware, that technically, I’m not quite in the clear. Winter may still come roaring back in the form of cold and snow. But I will instead choose to believe the calendar. It is Spring!

Time for a happy dance. Time for hope. Time to dream of sandals and swimming. Time to switch up the menu, scrub up the grill and ready the garden.

Torta al Testo: Filled FocacciaThe husband, a.k.a. Glenn, also loves this time of year. The arrival of Spring is about half of his excitement. The other half? March Madness. For those not in the “know”, March Madness is the college basketball tournament. It happens to be the one thing I don’t like about Spring. Ugh…basketball….lots of basketball. Too much basketball in my opinion. It goes on and on and on and…

I mean, why is it called “March Madness” when it goes straight into April? It’s not fair. If it’s going to be called March Madness, it should end in March…right? Am I alone in this? Am I the only one who doesn’t get all revved up about college basketball?

I’ve considered “accidentally” not paying the cable bill. Awww…what’s that, Glenn? The cable isn’t “working”? What a shame…hehehe.

Torta al Testo: Filled FocacciaBut no…I won’t do that. Instead, I’ll let him have control of the remote control. He will have his fun. I still don’t understand how yelling and screaming at the TV is fun… but hey, he seems to enjoy getting his frustrations out…even if I’m the only one who can hear him.

One thing that I will do during March Madness, is to make sure he eats more than just junk. Things like sandwiches. Things like this Torta al Testo! It’s a delicious filled focaccia. It can be stuffed with whatever pleases your palate.

To please Glenn’s palate, I stuffed this one with some of his favorite things. Cheese, salami, capicola, prosciutto, wilted greens, peperocini and olives. What would you stuff yours with? Get creative and get eating. :))

Torta al Testo: Filled Focaccia

Torta al Testo: Filled Focaccia

Torta al Testo: Filled Focaccia

  • Servings: 2 10-inch torte
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recommended equipment: Food processor fitted with a steal blade; 2 10-inch cast iron skillets.

Ingredients

For the Focaccia:
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1¼ cups warm water, divided use
3½ cups AP flour, plus more to work the dough
1 teaspoon kosher salt

To Top the Focaccia:
1 teaspoon olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the Filling, per Torta:
2 thin slices prosciutto
4 thin slices genoa salami
4 thin slices capicolla
3 ounces freshly grated cheese, use a blend for best flavor (Taleggio, stacchino, parmesan or romano are all great)
2 slices smoked provolone
2 ounces of greens (broccoli di rape, spinach, kale or arugula) lightly sauteed with garlic
oil and vinegar to dress
olives, peperocini, roasted red peppers, as desired

Directions for the Focaccia
  • Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl. Allow it to sit for several minutes, until it starts to bubble. Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds to combine.
  • Combine the dissolved yeast with the remaining 1 cup of warm water. With the motor running (food processor) pour all of the liquid into the flour. Process until the dough clumps on the blade and cleans the sides of the bowl, about 20 seconds. Process another 20 seconds. (If the dough does not gather on the blade or process easily, it is too wet or too dry. Feel the dough…if it is too sticky, add flour. If it seems to dry, add water. Be cautious and add small amounts.)
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead for a minute into a smooth round ball. Put the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray; cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  • Place oven rack in bottom third of the oven and heat to 450°F. Deflate the risen dough, and divide in two. Flatten each piece into a round, about 9-inches in diameter and place in the cast iron skillet. Press and stretch the dough to fill the entire bottom of the pan. Poke (dimple) the top all over with your fingertips. (If you only have one suitable skillet, put one half of the dough back in the oiled bowl, cover and let it rise again while you bake the first torta. When the skillet is empty, proceed with the second half.)
  • Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle the dough with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly brown on top. Transfer the baked bread to a wire rack to cool.

To Fill the Torte:

  • Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Slice off the top of each loaf with a long serrated knife. Cover the bottom half of each with slices of prosciutto, salami, capicolla, the cheese and sauteed greens or as desired. Replace the tops, place them on a baking sheet and return to the oven. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the torte are golden and fillings are hot.
  • If using any other fillings (peperocini, roasted red peppers, fresh greens, olives, etc), carefully remove tops and scatter fillings. Replace the tops and slice torte into wedges to serve.

Recipe adapted from Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, “Lidia Cooks From the Heart of Italy”, 2009

61 comments

    • I love quick meals like this on days when I feel a little lazy in the kitchen! Not too messy and not many dishes to wash…yet filling and delicious. Thanks, Liz!

  1. Your stuffed focaccia looks absolutely delicious Nancy – focaccia is something I have been wanting to make ever since I took a focaccia/ciabatta cooking class from Zingerman’s! No, you are not alone about basketball – luckily Gene did not watch it (just golf and football). I loved them both except for pro football unless it was super bowl! Thanks for co-hosting 🙂

    • Thank you, Judi. Focaccia is actually one of the first breads I ever made. I love it’s versatility. I just found out last night that Michigan didn’t even make it into the tournament this year. I was shocked, they used to be such a powerhouse. I’m not complaining though, that just means one less “must watch” game for Glenn. 😉

  2. Stephanie @ The Cozy Cook

    Nancy this looks awesome!! I love the step by step pictures too, those are always so helpful. Thank you for cohosting this week!! I’m so excited about the new party hall, yippeee!!!! 🙂

    • Thank you, Stephanie. 🙂 I’m what I call a “visual learner”… so I always appreciate visual tutorials. I’ve gotten to the point where I won’t even buy a cookbook without pictures! I NEED at least one picture so I know what a dish should look like! Isn’t the new party hall fabulous? Angie is certainly taking this party to a whole new level!

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