Monday, May 07, 2007

Mustuse Pie

For years I worked for a doctor who had his practice located on an old cherry orchard property near Occidental. He had remodeled an old barn down the hill from his home, and turned it into a great office, with stained glass and Oriental rugs and a wood stove. Since it was far from the usual medical centers, it became what he called a 'self-limiting' practice.

One of the nice things about working there was that over time I became friends with most of his children and family, as well as with the others who lived on the farm. Each year when the Derby race took place in Louisville, KY, there would be a Derby Day party at the farm, too. The doctor and others at Rainbow's End grew up in Louisville, so it was a traditional party, with mint juleps and a betting pool. We would watch the race on televisions set up high over the heads of the enthusiastic crowd. For many years it was a huge party, but in the last few years it has become smaller, which I like better. This year, on Saturday, I brought my Mustuse Pie for the potluck and enjoyed catching up with some pretty nice people.

So what, exactly, is a Mustuse Pie? It's the kind of dish that gets put together when you hunker down in front of the fridge and go through it. This half of a baked potato gets pulled out along with these steamed broccoli flowerets, the rest of the egg substitute, some non-fat ricotta cheese, those blanched green beans, a bit of cooked chopped spinach, this tomato which is starting to soften, but is still good...all the leftovers from the week that we must use up. I have Grandma L. to thank for this cute name for what is basically leftovers.

Since lots of the folks at the potluck are vegetarians, I didn't add any meat or poultry, or even fish. I did boil up some whole wheat spaghetti, broken in half first, but otherwise mostly used leftovers. You could add cubed cooked chicken or turkey, some sausage, or cooked shrimp, too. This isn't really a hard and fast recipe, but sort of suggestions for your own combinations of items that are 'must use' when you make the pie. It may sound like a hodge podge, but it sure makes a tasty dish.

Mustuse Pie
serves 4-6

1/2 lb whole wheat pasta, cooked al dente', and drained well

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 baked potato, cut in half and sliced

1 cup or so blanched green beans, cut into one inch pieces
1 cup or so steamed, chopped spinach (O.K. to use frozen, but drain well)
1/2 cup steamed broccoli
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/2 lb ricotta cheese (I used non-fat)
3 eggs, or equivalent egg substitute
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Salt & pepper

1 medium to large tomato
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Oil the bottom and sides of an 8 inch diameter pie plate.
Cook the pasta and drain well.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large non-stick or seasoned cast iron skillet, then saute' the onions and garlic until onions are transluscent, about 4 minutes. Add the potato and cook another minute or two until one side is lightly browned.
Add the beans, spinach, broccoli, basil and rosemary to the skillet, stir, cover, reduce heat, and cook until vegetables are just heated through.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta and feta cheese with the eggs, mixing well to blend. Stir in the drained pasta, then fold in the vegetable mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour into the prepared pie plate. (If there is too much for one pie, just oil another pie plate and make another pie with the rest.)
Slice the toamto into 5 or 6 slices. Arrange over the mixture in the pie plate, then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the pasta starts to brown and the cheese melts. Cool slightly before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. This pie is a great idea, Elle! So many delicious ingredients put together, I could not resist. :)

  2. How cute! I love the idea of a left over "pie" - I'll bet they are fantastic! I really need to use left overs more often in my house.. and this is a great way to do it, thanks =)

  3. Anonymous8:59 AM

    I'm going to be spending a good part of next week in Louisville on business. I love that city and some of the traditions.
    This pie looks so good. Different, but delicious.

  4. Creativity blossoms when there are 'must-use' items. This pie looks delish!

  5. Anonymous5:30 AM

    Hi Elle - sometimes the flexability of a dish like this makes it so appealing - both to prepare and enjoy. Your savoury pie sounds lovely!

  6. Great pie, I wish I could have a piece now! I especially love the tomatos on top.

  7. I was thinking I've never heard of one of them before! Great idea and looks good too :)

  8. Patricia, the fun part is to throw in whatever sounds good.

    Lis, Normally I dislike leftovers, but the fridge is happier, too.

    Kristen, Enjoy Lousiville! Have a Hot Brown if you can find one.

    Anna, Creativity...yes, that sound better than desperate.

    Gilly, Flexibility...yes, that's a big part of this pie 'recipe', too.

  9. Sara, Thanks! The tomatoes were my favorite part.

    Kelly-jane, Sometimes the 'cute' names work, sometimes not. I think this one might. Grandma L. thinks so.

  10. Who wouldn't love the name "Mustuse pie"? It reminds me of my family making frittata--just about any vegetable and herb can be thrown in to good results. Thanks for a fun post!

  11. Fabulous name for the dish and it looks wonderful. Amazing what you can do with leftovers isn't it?

  12. Susan, This is sort of a pasta frittata at that.

    Tanna, yes, sounds better than garbage pie, right? :)