Ratatouille Tart

Image by Deb Garlick

Zucchini squash, sweet peppers and vine-ripened tomatoes take center stage in this rustic tart. An adaptation of my ratatouille tart recipe in British Columbia From Scratch, this open-faced version includes briny Kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts and a handful of fresh herbs. Tucked beneath the vegetables is a savoury filling made of creamy ricotta, feta and Parmesan cheese.

To keep the pastry crisp, the pie shell is pre-baked with a dusting of Parmesan cheese, which forms a light barrier that prevents the filling from seeping through.

If you’re not in the mood for making pastry, the ratatouille filling is delicious tossed with pasta, gnocchi, rice, or baked potatoes.

This recipe can be easily halved.

Makes two (10 1/2”) tarts

Served warm or room temperature, this tart begs for second helpings.

The pastry and the fillings can be made days in advance.

Pastry

1 recipe Flaky Pastry Dough 

6 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated 

Tart Filling

2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more as necessary

2 large onions, diced

1/2 cup peeled and blanched pearl onions, optional

2 large zucchini squashes, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/4-inch slices

2 large orange or red peppers, diced

1/2 tsp kosher salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

28-oz can good quality plum tomatoes

Two 6-oz jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped

36 Kalamata olives, pits removed and coarsely chopped

2 tsp hot sauce, such as Sriracha

6 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley

2 Tbsp freshly chopped basil

Cheese Filling

1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese, strained in a sieve to remove excess water

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg, slightly beaten

Optional Topping

1 dozen small ripe tomatoes on the vine 

Special Equipment

Two 10 1/2-inch tart pans with removable bottoms

Pastry

You’ll need to first prepare, and blind bake the pastry (pre-cook, without a filling) as per instructions below.

Line the tart pans with pastry, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Remove the plastic wrap from the tart pans and pierce the base and sides of the pastry with the tines of a fork, as pictured on page xxx. Place the tarts on a baking tray, cover each with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights, beans or rice.  Bake 20 minutes, turning the baking trays once during baking to ensure the tarts bake evenly. Remove the tarts from the oven and carefully remove the pie weights and foil (or parchment). Sprinkle each tart with 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, another 5-7 minutes or until the pastry is browned and cooked through. Cool completely on baking rack.

Vegetable Filling

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the zucchini, red peppers, salt and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about half a minute until aromatic, then add the plum tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Add the artichokes, pitted olives, hot sauce and herbs. Simmer uncovered over medium heat, until the liquid has completely evaporated and the mixture has thickened, about 15-20 minutes. (A watery mixture will seep through the pastry.) Taste and season with additional salt if desired. Set aside to cool completely.

Cheese Filling

Combine the strained ricotta, feta, Parmesan and egg in a medium bowl and mix well.

Assembly

Divide the cheese mixture in two and spread evenly over the base of each pre-cooked pastry-lined tart pan. Divide the cooled ratatouille filling and spread evenly over the cheese mixture.

Optional Topping

If desired, scatter six or seven small ripe tomatoes atop the filling and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. 

Bake the tarts on baking sheet in a 350°F pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes or until the cheese and filling have warmed through.

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