Yield: Serves 8
From the November 22, 2008 Episode
If you're hankering for a spectacular centerpiece for a vegetarian meal, look no further than this hearty pie. Flaky pastry gives way to cremini mushrooms and chewy farro (an ancient Italian grain) bound together by ricotta.
- 3/4 cup farro or pearl barley (see Cooks' Note)
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 9 scallions, finely chopped (1-1/3 cups), divided
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup dry Madeira (preferably Verdelho or Sercial)
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
- 1 (1-pound) package frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt
- 1. Cover farro with cold water in a bowl and soak 30 minutes, then drain in a colander, discarding soaking water.
- 2. Bring farro, water (3 cups), and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.
- 3. While farro cooks, melt butter with oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, then cook garlic and half of scallions, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add Madeira and simmer 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl and stir in farro, then cool completely.
- 4. Stir in ricotta, remaining scallions, and salt and pepper to taste.
Roll Out Pastry While Filling Cools:
- 1. If pastry is in one piece, cut into 2 equal pieces. Roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface into an 11-inch square. Stack squares on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet with a second sheet of parchment between them, then cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.
Assemble and Bake Pie:
- 1. Put a large baking sheet on rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 400 F.
- 2. Set aside top square of pastry on parchment. Spread cooled filling evenly over pastry on baking sheet, leaving a 1-inch border. Brush border with some of egg wash and, using parchment, invert second square on top, lightly pressing to seal border. Brush top with remaining egg wash, then crimp border with a fork and trim with a pizza wheel or sharp knife.
- 3. Cut a few small steam vents in top of pie and decoratively score pastry. Slide pie on parchment onto preheated baking sheet in oven and bake until puffed and deep golden brown, about 45 minutes.
- If using barley, simmer unsoaked barley in 6 cups water with 1/4 teaspoon salt for 45 minutes.
- Filling can be made and pastry rolled out one day ahead and chilled.
- Pie can be assembled three hours ahead and chilled, uncovered.