My tomatoes are ripening, my basil plant is a bush, and zucchini are abundant. I think this zucchini tomato basil tart really captures the vegetables we’re starting to see come to markets now. It’s also a perfect summertime dish as a light accompaniment to any grilled meal or part of a lunchtime salad.
This tart is a snap to make, and even easier if you are growing most of the ingredients, like me. We received zucchini and summer squash in our weekly CSA box so I went out back and picked enough tomatoes and basil from the garden for the recipe. The only things I needed to get from the store were mozzarella and ricotta. To be honest I really should have made the ricotta but since I had to get one cheese at the store I opted for the short cut and picked some up. This recipe comes from my mom’s books and calls for using a tart pan, but lately I’ve taken to just rolling the dough out and folding in the edges for a more simple look. By using this technique you can also get some of the filling inside the crust (hey, it’s Chicago, we like crusts stuffed with things).
The one thing I wish I did but forgot about was use an egg wash on the edges so the crust would brown more. It’s still flaky and buttery just not picture perfect brown. Trust me, no one will really be commenting on the paleness of your crust once they taste it. The flavors in this zucchini tomato basil tart are delicious and there’s an almost perfect ratio in the layers of vegetables-cheese-crust. Oh and a fantastic basil flavor. Salting the vegetables first to draw out the excess water is a great trick to keep the crust from getting soggy when baked. The 3-2-1 pie dough makes a very flaky crust if you stick with all butter (why wouldn’t you?). I thought the tart needed some more salt but Cheryl said it tasted great so I guess I got it right!
Zucchini Tomato Basil Tart
- 3-2-1 pie dough (a ½ order = 6 oz flour, 4 oz butter, 2 oz water since you don’t need a top crust)
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced
- 1 lb tomatoes, sliced
- 1 C firmly packed basil leaves
- ½ C plus 2 Tbs ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ lb mozzarella, grated
- ½ parmigiano reggiano, grated
- Olive oil
Make the dough for your crust. Since we’re making a tart you only need ½ of a normal 3-2-1 pie dough recipe. Combine the butter with the flour and crumble together with your fingers until you get pea sized balls of butter. Add the water 1 oz at a time and mix together until a dough ball forms. Place in the fridge and chill for a half hour or hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Liberally salt the zucchini and tomato slices with a 2-3 good sized pinches of salt. Mix and let sit for 20 minutes in a colander.
Drain and pat dry on paper towels. Set aside.
In your food processor puree the basil with the ricotta cheese and eggs. Side Roam: it can be done by hand but a food processor is much much easier.
In a large bowl, blend the puree together with the mozzarella and parmigiano. Season to taste with salt.
Take the pie dough out of the fridge and roll it out into a 10” round. Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper.
Leaving an inch border on the pie shell, layer zucchini slices in a circle in the dough, covering the bottom, but leaving an edge to fold back over.
Spread the basil cheese mixture onto the zucchini slices.
Arrange the tomato slices on top of the basil-cheese mixture.
Fold the edges over towards the center of the tart, making a stuffed crust.
Brush the top and crust with olive oil.
Bake for 50-60 minutes.
Allow to cool and serve.