Today is the first day of Summer! It is also Summer Solstice when the sun is at it’s highest point in the sky, which means it’s the longest day of the year, with about 17 hours of sunlight, and the shortest night. 2016 is a special year, because the solstice coincides with the Strawberry Moon, a once-in-a-lifetime occurence. A Strawberry Moon is a full moon in June, named by early Native American tribes because it marks the beginning of the strawberry season. The two events coincide only once every 70 years so make sure you look up at the moon tonight. You may not get another chance!
So summer. Nothing captures summer’s delicious bounty like zucchini and tomatoes that are abundant and so good this time of year! If you aren’t lucky enough to have a small garden, this is also the time of year that they are the most affordable, thanks to supply and demand. Luckily, they are great together and can be combined many different ways. This is an easy tart to assemble, especially if you use a prepared pie crust. It has layers of a garlicky ricotta parmesan mixture, thinly sliced zucchini and ripe tomatoes all baked together into a delicious and creamy tart. This is a great vegetarian main course or a stunning party dish to share.
I didn’t make my own crust for this one because I was pressed for time (no shame in that-even bloggers take shortcuts sometimes), however, my favorite homemade pie crust is one from King Arthur Flour which uses white whole wheat flour (yes, that is a thing). White whole wheat flour is almost as light as traditional white flour but has all of the nutrition and none of the heaviness of regular whole wheat flour. For those who like to make their own crust, this is an easy and good one. Click through on the link below for the recipe.
If you are looking for other vegetable tart ideas, one of my favorite, and most popular recipes, is a Summer Vegetable Tart that combines zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and mozzarella which is another great combination. Click through below for the recipe.
Regardless of what vegetables you put into the tart, it’s a sure winner. It’s also a great way to use up extra garden veggies. If you slice them thin enough, you could substitute or add almost any vegetable for the zucchini. Since this tart cooks for almost an hour, most vegetables will get done, however, if you have something that is more fibrous or hard to slice thinly, you could par-boil it for a minute or two before arranging in the tart.
TIPS: Tomatoes shrink when cooked, so feel free to generously overlap the slices for full coverage. Next time I will overlap even more. Using a variety of sizes and colors makes a prettier dish. For cherry tomatoes, slice in half and press the curved side down into the ricotta mixture.
EASY ZUCCHINI AND TOMATO TART
- 1 pie crust
- 2 cups ricotta
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese (or other grated cheese)
- 1 egg
- 4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped (plus more for garnish)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
- 4-5 ripe tomatoes, sliced
- olive oil spray
- Prepare all herbs and veggies. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- .Place pie crust in a pie pan and crimp edges, if desired
- In a medium bowl combine the eggs, ricotta, garlic, basil and parmesan.
- Spread half of the ricotta mixture evenly over the crust.
- Arrange the zucchini evenly on top of the ricotta mixture.
- Carefully spread the remaining ricotta mixture over the zucchini.
- Arrange the tomato slices over the top. Spray the tomatoes with olive oil (or use a brush) and sprinkle with salt and pepper, dried oregano, basil or thyme.
- Bake until the crust is golden brown and the ricotta has set, 45-60 minutes. To brown the tomatoes, broil the last 5 minutes.
- Top with additional parmesan and fresh basil, if desired.
- Let it cool slightly before serving.
Zucchini and Tomato Tart