Torta al Testo and Crostino Umbro recipe from New Haven Chef’s Table: Restaurants, Recipes, & Local Food cookbook
Executive Chefs Anna and Marc Gambacorta, from Skappo, an Italian wine bar:
Torta al testo is a very traditional flatbread that is found within the central region of Italy, called Umbria. It is such a staple in the Umbrian diet that there is even a specific pan that was created for baking this bread, though a cookie sheet works just as well. The delicate torta can be sliced in half and filled with various grilled vegetables, sauteed greens, tangy cheeses, and an assortment of meats or used as a base for numerous toppings and homemade spreads. This recipe uses the torta in just that manner, as a base for a delicious combination of thinly sliced meat and a traditional Umbrian cheese.
THE RECIPE. The Torta al Testo was simple to make, with only five minutes of kneading–so simple that we were a bit worried. Other than stirring up a white sauce, our only other “task” for this recipe was to shop at our favorite local Italian deli. And that was hard–too many choices! We made things easier on ourselves by stocking up on everything: salami, prosciutto, pancetta, parmesan, asiago, fresh mozzarella, dried pasta, fresh pasta, homemade meatballs, canned sauces & olive oils & balsamic vinegars & more delicacies than we can list.
THE RESULT. The Torta al Testo baked up beautifully. It was slightly thicker than we had expected, but probably just as it should be, since our immediate first thought was that we did indeed want to split it in half to stuff with meat and cheese (next time!). Instead, we used it as a base, as noted, for the Crostino Umbro recipe. And we’ll certainly use it for that purpose again, even though we’ll probably skip the white sauce. We had some white bean & sage dip that worked wonderfully for the same purpose, adding some additional density and flavor.
Featured Recipe From: New Haven Chef's Table: Restaurants, Recipes, & Local Food
Yield: Serves 8
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups warm milk
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 pieces of torta al testo (recipe on facing page)
- 16 slices prosciutto cotto*
- 16 very thinly shaved slices Pecorino di Fossa**
*A delicately sweet baked ham that can be found at Skappo Merkato or any high-end specialty meat store.
** A specialty Umbrian sheep’s milk cheese that has been aged in a cave for one hundred days
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour, stirring vigorously to combine the ingredients and avoid clumping. When the butter and flour mixture is smooth, stir in the warm milk. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens to a creamy texture, 5 to 8 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and add the grated Parmesan cheese; add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place the torta slices on a baking sheet and spread a thin layer of white sauce on each slice; place 2 slices prosciutto cotto and then 2 thin shavings Pecorino di Fossa on top.
4. Bake the crostini in the oven until the cheese is light golden brown and slightly melted, about 15 minutes.
© 2010 The Connecticut Mental Health Center Foundation
Reprinted with permission from New Haven Chef's Table: Restaurants, Recipes, & Local Food (Lyons Press)