For all of you Italians out there (for which I claim partial heritage), this is not a ricotta pie. This is an ingenious little puff pastry tart where you can use a lot of that zucchini that’s crowding your Victory Garden. Or perhaps like me, you received a larger-than-usual delivery of zucchini in your CSA order and refuse to make another loaf of zucchini bread.
I’m not going to lie to you there is some time involved in making this tart. I pulled it from Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine and the photograph was so beautiful, I just had to make it. It helped that I had a ton of zucchini sitting in a basket on my kitchen island. Anyway, although I said it is a bit of time-taker, it is definitely not hard to prepare. And when you pull it out of the oven, it looks impressive in that French countryside sort of way.
Zucchini and Ricotta Tart
4 zucchini, thinly sliced crosswise
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped*
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (plus more for sprinkling on top)
1/2 cup half and half
pinch of nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Layer the zucchini in a colander, sprinkling each layer with salt; let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse, then pat dry.
Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to remove the creases. Press the pastry into a 9-inch pie plate and trim the excess, so the crust is flush with the rim. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Refrigerate.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook, turning, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the dill and remove from the heat. let cool to room temperature.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmagiano-Reggiano and the half and half; season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir in the zucchini. Pour the mixture into the chilled pastry crust and sprinkle with more cheese. Bake until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about an hour**. Let cool slightly before slicing.
*The first time I made this recipe I used 1/4 cup chopped dill and found it was too “dilly.” I made it again and used about 3 tbsp.
**Note that the original recipe as published in the magazine states to bake it for 1 hour and 10 minutes, but in my oven 1 hour was sufficient.