I’m calling this a CROSTATA simply because it is one, an Italian BAKED tart or pie. Pretty simple. This egg, cheese and vegetable CROSTATA is not much different than a QUICHE but I’m going with the term CROSTATA because of the cheeses I used in this, RICOTTA,MOZZARELLA, and PARMIGIANO. There are a million ways to prepare and enjoy the seasonal tomatoes out right now, mostly eaten raw because they are just so delicious. Don’t stop there! This cheese tart topped with sliced seasonal tomatoes and some Asparagus really shows off their delicious flavors. Arrangement of the vegetables is up to you. I was feeling creative and came up with this pattern but i realized after I did it that pieces will miss out on the ASPARAGUS so just be creative!! My mise en place for the crostata. I used Polly-O because that was the best available. It will be even better when you use the ricotta in tins, or fresh ricotta, but DON’T STRESS, just use a good brand of Ricotta. Organic/Farm eggs will also make a difference as will local ripe and fresh vegetables.
The idea is reminiscent of the frittatas my Mom would make with the seasonal vegetables from Dad’s home garden. It was farm to table long before it became a food industry buzzword, really hipsters, it’s simply how food has been prepared and served since the beginning of time. Until Kraft came along…!! If you do not have your own garden try a local farmers market OR even in the supermarkets, like where I live in New Jersey..there’s a designated area in the produce department for LOCAL vegetables. There’s also the Organic section so during the growing season you can by-pass trucked in factory farmed produce from far away areas. The taste difference is worth it.
for a 9 inch PIE PLATE which will serve 8 people:
TIME: 2 hours SERVES: 6-8
1 basic PIE CRUST ROLLED AND PRESSED INTO A 9 inchPAN
2 CUPS DRAINED RICOTTA
3 BEATEN LARGE EGGS
1/8 CUP FRESHLY GRATED PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO
2 TBS HEAVY CREAM
1/8 CUP SMALL DICED MOZZARELLA
FRESH GROUND BLACK PEPPER
2TBS. DRY PLAIN BREADCRUMBS
1 GREEN ONION, FINELY CHOPPED
8 RIPE 1/8 inch TOMATO SLICES
8 PEELED AND BLANCHED ASPARAGUS SPEARS
EXTRA BREADCRUMBS, PARMIGIANO, SALT AND PEPPER FOR FINISHING
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat the Ricotta and the eggs together in a large bowl. Add 1/8 tsp. Salt and1/4 Tsp.Ground black pepper. Mix. Fold in the mozzarella and the Parmigiano and Green Onionsand cream. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the bottom of the crust. When it’s well blended pour it into the pie crust. Place the pan on a foil covered baking sheet. Now top the crust with the tomatoes and Asparagus. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and rotate the pan. Now top with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, about 2 tbs. of Grated Parmigiano and 1 1/2 TBS of breadcrumbs. Bake for 15minutes longer OR until the center of the Crostata is set.If you are not sure, insert a smooth blade or toothpick and when it comes out clean you are done!
Here’s a simple pie crust for you:
2 cups sifted All purpose Unbleached flour
1 stick unsalted butter (at room temperature)
½ cup ice water
Mix the butter and flour togetherwith your fingers or two knife blades . Add the water slowly to the flour and butter mixture, mixing until the dough is formed. Roll this into a smooth ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove. Let it sit out for 5 minutes, Then on a floured board roll out to 1/8 inch thickness and make sure the bottom and 3/4 of the sides of the pan are covered. That’s it!
Isn’t that beautiful? The Ricotta served to make it a bit lighter in texture than the typical custardlike quiche filling. The Italian cheeses and black pepper give it a nice flavor and the Green onion is really nice as a background. The caramelized tomato and asparagus just finishes it off nicely. Enjoy this one!!! Let it sit for a good 15 minutes before you cut into it.