Recipe: Torta di Peperoni Alia Salsa di Acciughe (Sweet Red Pepper Tart with Anchovy Cream)

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Every Thursday on the Good Food Blog we share a recipe from our archives.

Prolific cookbook author and restaurant consultant Joyce Goldstein honors the precursor to a fabulous Italian meal in her book, Antipasti. She first shared this recipe for Torta di Peperoni Alia Salsa di Acciughe (Sweet Red Pepper Tart with Anchovy Cream) on September 9, 2006.

Keep reading for the full recipe…

Torta di Peperoni Alia Salsa di Acciughe (Sweet Red Pepper Tart with Anchovy Cream)
Serves 8 to 10

For the pastry

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water, or as needed

For the filling

  • 3 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and puréed (about 1 cup purée) (see note)
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup whole milk or heavy cream
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the anchovy cream

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
  • 8 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, or as needed
  • Strips of roasted poblano or padrón chiles (optional)
  1. To make the pastry, in a bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, Add the 2 tablespoons ice water and gradually work it into the flour mixture with your fingers until the dough barely holds together, adding a little more ice water if needed. Do not overwork the dough, or it will be tough. Alternatively, combine the flour and salt in a food processor and process briefly to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. With the motor running, add the 2 tablespoons ice water and process just until the dough barely holds together, adding more ice water if needed. Gather the dough into a ball, pat it into a thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into an 11-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Carefully transfer the dough round to a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch pie pan and ease it into the bottom and sides. If using a tart pan, trim the overhang to make a neat edge, fold the overhang inward to reinforce the sides, and then run the rolling pin across the top of the pan to trim off the excess dough. If using a pie pan, trim the overhang to about 1/2 inch, fold the overhang under, and attractively flute the edge or leave it plain. (You can wrap the pastry-lined pan and keep it in the freezer for up to 1 day before baking.)
  4. Line the pastry-lined pan with aluminum foil, allowing it to overhang the edge slightly, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, Remove the weights and foil and bake until pale gold and the bottom is set, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
  5. To make the filling, in a bowl, whisk together the pepper purée, tomato paste, milk, eggs, flour, and cheese. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the filling into the partially baked crust. Bake until the custard is set, about 25 minutes.
  7. While the tart is baking, make the anchovy cream: In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, garlic (if using), and anchovies and warm gently, stirring occasionally, until the anchovies melt into the oil. Whisk in the 1/2 cup cream and simmer gently until well blended. Taste and if the flavor is too strong, add a little more cream. Remove from the heat and reheat before serving.
  8. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the tart pan and transfer the tart to a serving plate (or serve directly from the pan if you have used a pie pan). Cut into wedges and serve warm. Top each slice with a few strips of roasted chile, if using, and place a spoonful of anchovy cream on the side.

NOTE: Although not authentic, jarred roasted Spanish piquillo peppers can be used in place of the bell peppers. They have a more intense perfume than the domestic bells.
WINE: You cannot go wrong with a dry sparkling wine, either Prosecco or Franciacorta. You could also pair this antipasto with a ripe, flinty Gavi di Gavi. Look for Villa Sparina, one of the best producers.