I know that "real" tomatoes won't be ready for awhile around the Carolinas where we live ............
............ but I've been seeing some lovely ones at my local market lately and this week "the price was right"! Coming home with these beautiful, juicy treasures got my imagination rolling and I decided a tomato tart would be a perfect dinner.
I combined creamy ricotta and flavorful parmesan in a buttery crisp pastry shell topped simply with thinly sliced tomatoes, a bit more parmesan. After baking the tart until puffed and golden I drizzled it with olive oil and pesto and a scatter of fresh basil leaves was the perfect finishing touch.
We loved this dinner........... in fact we like it so much that I prepared it again tonight for guests. I added a layer of crumbled Italian sausage this time under the tomatoes - another winner! If you're feeling a bit of wanderlust, take the time to prepared this Herbed Ricotta Tomato Tart - who knows, the aroma and delicious flavor might just transform your familiar dining room into a classic Italian Trattoria!
Herbed Ricotta Tomato Tart
purchased or homemade pastry crust, I love this recipe for Paté Brisee
16 ounce container ricotta cheese
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 ½ cups freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling over the finished tart
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced and placed on several thicknesses of paper towels to drain
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablesoons basil pesto, combined with enough olive oil to make it easy to drizzle
fresh basil leaves
6 ounces cooked, crumbled Italian sausage, optional
1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
2. On a generously floured work surface, roll out pastry to fit a 8 or 9 inch tart pan. Gently roll pastry around rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll. Unroll onto the top of tart pan. Don't pull the pastry or the crust will shrink when baked. Lay pastry circle across tart pan and gently press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. Roll rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry. Place tart shell in freezer while preparing filling.
3. In a large bowl, combine ricotta and eggs. Stir or whisk to combine. Add parmesan cheese and sea salt and stir again to mix well.
4. Remove tart shell from freezer and in pour cheese mixture, smoothing top with an angled knife, If using sausage, scatter sausage over ricotta layer, gently tucking sausage slightly into cheese. Top with sliced tomatoes and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Careully drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over top of tart and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
5. Bake until just set and slightly browned on top 20-30 minutes. Depending on your oven, the baking time may vary.
6. Remove tart from oven. Combine pesto and olive oil and drizzle over the top of the tart. Scatter with fresh basil leaves, if desired.