Italian Cooking Terms

Italian Torta
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Translated, a Torta means tart in Italian, which describes a small tart-like food that may be baked or made with cold, refrigerated ingredients that do not require baking. Often, an Italian Torta is baked with a pastry shell made from flour and eggs that is filled with sweet, savory, or sweet and savory ingredients. Typically, an Italian Torta will have an enclosed pastry shell that may be flat or domed after it is finished baking. However, as recipes have evolved for this food item, there are now many different variations for both sweet and savory Tortas which may or may not have a completely enclosed pastry shell or they may have lattice tops over a pastry shell.

Also referred to as an Italian Pie, variations of the Italian Torta also include small pie-like tarts filled with meat such as ham and pepperoni combined with an egg custard, providing both a slightly sweet and a somewhat savory filling. A ricotta-filled Torta is a common Italian food that may be made as a layered Torta or simply as a pie with a small filling of ricotta. Small cheese Tortas are very common in Italy, often layered with other ingredients.

Italian Tortas are made in different sizes to be served as appetizers, single servings, and main dishes. Hard, soft and cream cheeses, dry sausages, meats, eggs, olives, sweet peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, vegetables, sauces such as pesto, herbs, garlic, and olive oil are all common ingredients for making Italian Tortas. Potato Tortas such as Italian Shepherd's Pie or mashed potato Tortas are typical types of Tortas made as main dishes.

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