Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer Bounty Tart

My cooking garden is limited to herbs, mainly because I don’t have the requisite sunshine (due to some lovely trees) to grow much of anything else.  But many of you are growing little lovelies such as squash, zucchini, tomatoes and peppers.  To constantly and creatively use your bounty can pose a challenge and let’s be honest, there’s only so much sautéing and canning one can tolerate.

As I have told my dear readers several times before, I subscribe to many blogs that write about varying topics such as cooking, baking, knitting, DIY projects, well as Pinterest.  Not only do I get ideas that I can credit and share, I learn from their very different, always informative and sometimes amusing writing styles (I especially like the sassy posts).  Anyway, one such blog I subscribe to is called “Proud Italian Cook” and one day, this post appeared in my feed:

Which prompted this email to my dinner club pals (remember, we are on a summer hiatus):

To:       Dinner Club Pals
From:   Me
Sent:    August 12, 2012                    
I am more than HAPPY to make this one night this week if you guys want to have an impromptu dinner......all you'll need to do is show up, I will take care of, salad and dessert! 


I received prompt and happy responses, and after a few negotiating exchanges, we settled on Thursday evening and that we would all bring something. 

Proud’s version includes zucchini blossoms, which I’m sure are delectable.  Since I don’t have zucchini growing in my garden and the local whole foods store did not have any, my tart is sans the blossoms, but I added mushrooms.

So here’s what you need:

1 Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheet

Ricotta spread
- 2 cups of ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- Freshly snipped basil
- ¼ cup each of three different cheeses, I used Parmesan, mozzarella and cheddar.
You should have enough ricotta mixture to make another tart.

- 1 squash and 1 zucchini, sliced very thinly or cut into ribbons. 
I used my Pampered Chef mandolin
- 8 oz of pre-sliced mushrooms
-  Olive oil to lightly coat the pan
- 1 tablespoons of fresh garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper to taste
-  Red pepper flakes

Pre-heat the oven to 350°.  

Defrost the puff pastry.  Unfold the still somewhat cold puff pastry sheet onto to a pizza stone or cookie pan and lightly roll the seams out.  Also make sure the edges look even all around. With a small knife, make a 1/2 inch border all the way around the perimeter being careful not to cut through the pasty. Take a fork and prick the pastry within the border so air can get through. Pre-bake the pastry shell for 8 minutes or until slightly brown (otherwise, your prepared tart will have a soggy bottom).  The unpunctured pastry will puff up.

Mix together the ricotta, egg, basil and cheeses. 
Coat a pan with the olive oil and when heated, quickly sauté the garlic and red pepper, about 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and cook until they reduce.  Add the zucchini and yellow squash ribbons and sauté until they are slightly wilted.

Spread the ricotta mixture within the border of the pre-cooked pastry and then spread the squash and zucchini mixture on top and dot with a few sliced cherry tomatoes and a little drizzle of olive oil. Brush edges with olive oil and sprinkle on some more Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350° until edges are dark golden and crispy, at least 35 minutes.

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