by Jane Rodmell for All The Best Fine Foods, a ‘Certifed Good Food Fighter’

In June at All The Best we continue our Mediterranean tour and feature the glorious flavours of Italy. Our chefs are busy cooking up a storm preparing many of the most popular foods in our repertoire…a chunky  Minestrone soup, handmade gnocchi with Marinara Sauce, a tasty grilled Traviso salad and (my all time favourite) Spicy Sausage Lasagne with a top layer of creamy Spinach Bechamel.

Torta Rustica is one of our featured dishes this month. It’s a delicious multi-layered pie, perfect to serve at room temperature for brunch, lunch or supper. Each alternating vegetable layer of thinly sliced potato, spinach and roasted red peppers is prepared separately, seasoned carefully, arranged in a pastry shell with layers of provolone cheese and baked until golden brown.  A Torta is not exactly ‘fast food’! If you have the notion to prepare it yourself, set aside an hour or so, put on some ‘good-to-cook-by’ tunes and have some fun. You’ll find the recipe at

Roasted Tomato Coulis

We recommend serving Torta Rustica with a Roasted Tomato Coulis. This simple sauce is a summer basic and is outstanding to serve with grilled vegetables (such as eggplant or zucchini), with grilled fish or tossed with pasta or gnocchi.

9-10 sun-ripe Roma (plum) tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil

Kosher or sea salt

1 tsp (5 ml) balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp (30 ml) basil chiffonade

Freshly ground black pepper

Toss tomatoes with olive oil. Arrange cut side down, in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast in preheated 450°F (230°C) oven until tomatoes are soft and beginning to char, about 20 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor. Add about ¼ tsp (1 ml) salt and the vinegar and process until smooth. For a finer smoother sauce, press tomatoes through a sieve to remove seeds. Stir in basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sauce may be made up to one day ahead. Add basil before serving. Cover and keep chilled.

Makes 1 cup (250 ml)

Enjoy. All the best!