Fresh Tomato & Cheese Tart

This savory summertime tart is a terrific choice to utilize the season’s bounty of fresh flavorful tomatoes. The flaky buttery crust compliments the luscious ricotta and Parmesan cheese filling. A drizzle of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and balsamic vinegar is the delicious finishing touch. If you don’t have an aged balsamic in your pantry, you can use balsamic vinegar to make a reduction.

Paired with glass of Prosecco or a sparkling rosemary limonata, the tart can be enjoyed simply as an appetizer, which will serve 7-14, depending on how you slice it. The addition of a primi piatti (first course) of lemon spaghetti would make a light, yet satisfying  lunch. But, why stop there? Let’s add a main course (secondi piatti) of  piccatina di vitello al limone, and it goes without saying, there will be dessert!

 

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flower, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (very cold), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3-4 Tablespoons ice water

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, julienne, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  1. Using a food processor, pulse the flour and salt for a second or two to combine, then add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles large peas. Add 3 tablespoons of the ice water and pulse until the dough holds together when pressed between your fingers. If necessary, add the 4th tablespoon of ice water. Pulse until dough forms into a ball. Transfer the ball of dough to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest, beating with a fork. Add the cream and eggs and mix until smooth. Stir in the thinly sliced basil.
  3. On a lightly floured pastry board, roll the dough to fit a 4-in x 13-in tart pan with a removable bottom. Pierce the bottom and sides with a fork. Line with parchment paper or foil. Place pie weights (I use dry beans) on the parchment or foil. This keeps the crust from puffing up.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 350* oven. Carefully, remove the weights and parchment or foil and bake an additional 12 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  5. Place tart pan on baking sheet. Pour filling into crust, bake 20-25 minutes or until filling is set. Let cool 10 minutes or so. Slice the tomatoes and place on top of the tart.

 

 

To serve, cut and plate, then garnish with basil and a drizzle of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and aged balsamic or balsamic reduction.

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