Pizza Rustica and guilt

I did not order take out for New Year’s Eve.  Just in the knick of time, overwhelming guilt got me cooking.  Not that there is anything wrong with takeout, but I’m a cook, I love to cook and I should cook. Takeout can do a lot of favors until it doesn’t anymore–until you get to the point where the guy coming to your door with a paper bag wrapped in a plastic bag with your dinner in it gives you first palpations and then a feeling like you swallowed lead. Banging around in your head, with a few bulbs missing is a blinking but persistent HOW LONG WILL THIS GO ON? With no car and no groceries, Ferdinand and I went to the deli to get the necessaries for bringing a little life back into the kitchen for the New Year. I told him he could pick out whatever he wanted and he and I hunted for inspiration. I picked out an eggplant, a red pepper, a bag of baby spinach, a pot of fresh ricotta, a wedge of fontina, parmesan, a bunch of parsley, some purple skinned garlic, a bag of arugula, a can of cannellini (cheater), the last loaf of Italian country bread, a pile of yellow onions, and happy eggs. Ferd pulled in with a white chocolate kit-kat. Fair enough. A person wants what they want.
When I got home, I put everything down, opened my olive oil of the gods, and held it to my nose. If you can inhale something seriously good, deeply good and only good, it’s hard to pick up the phone for anything else. I rolled out a dough to make a pizza rustica, 2 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, a good pinch of salt, 1/2 cup of cold butter and whirred that around in the food processor until mealy. Then I added 2 beaten eggs. Pulsed it again until it made a ball in the bowl of the machine, wrapped it up in plastic and stuck it in the fridge. I wilted the spinach with olive oil and garlic and then it sit over a seive before squeezing. I slabbed the eggplant, brushed it with olive oil on both sides, and roasted it off as the same time as the red pepper along with an uncut clove of garlic, but on a different sheet pan. I chopped some parsley, about 2 tablespoons for 3/4 pound of ricotta, 1 beaten egg (saving a bit to brush on top) and smashed the clove of roasted garlic to stir into the cheese with a little pepper and salt. Divided the dough in half and rolled out in two pieces; one for the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan, then grated fontina, the eggplant, the peppers, the ricotta, the parmesan, and the spinach, totally squeezed of its liquid, with a little more parmesan on top. Then the top crust, with the bottom crust folding over the edges of the top. A few holes cut in top, and baked at 400 degrees.
I caramelized 2 sliced onions with my oil for about 45 minutes over low heat with a bay leaf and a pinch of salt. I drained the beans, washed them, drizzled with olive oil and tossed with lemon and (FRESH) crushed garlic and salt and a grind of pepper, and then with croutons I made in the oven and the arugula. And parmesan. With the onions I made a frittata, only cooking it on one side, and flipping it onto the hot pan, off the heat for about 2 seconds before getting it one the plate. For dessert we had creme reversee. I don’t know how to spell it, but it was good. We drank red wine, white wine, and forgot all about the champagne. It was worth it just for the smell.

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