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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

zucchini and herbed ricotta torte

A few weeks ago I made a hummus and roasted vegetable torte that just rocked my world.  Actually, it was the simple, four-ingredient, flaky delicious crust from Soma at ecurry that was the world-rocking part.

And so, on meatless Monday yesterday, at about 4:45, when I had no idea what to make for dinner, I remembered Soma's awesome torte crust. Luckily I had all the ingredients on hand, and away I went!

After making the crust (this time with rosemary), I went about loading it up with the vegetables that are still lingering from last week's box. Ahem. That is to say that this week I am somehow faced with catching up on all the stuff we somehow didn't get around to eating last week, and at the same time tackling this week's bounty. I am not sure how this is all going to work out, but I guess there are worse problems in the world than having too much delicious, fresh, organic produce on hand.

Back to 4:45 yesterday. With my crust safely baking in the oven, I had 12 minutes of free time to figure out how to top it. We have no hummus on hand right now, but while rooting around in the fridge I found some ricotta. Perfect! Mixing the ricotta with some fresh herbs gave it plenty of zip, and topping it with a couple of the veggies I needed to attend to made it perfectly tasty. Again, I think it would make a perfect appetizer, cut into  small squares. However, though, this time it was the main course here, served alongside a big salad.

And so, I give to you, my zucchini, tomato, and herbed ricotta cheese torte!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (or any other herbs you have on hand)
1/3 cup + 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons very cold club soda
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut into thin slivers
2 tablespoons chives, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini
about 12-14 cherry tomatoes
crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the flour, salt, pepper and herbs together. In a separate small bowl, whisk the club soda and olive oil for a couple minutes, until they become creamy and well incorporated.

Pour water-oil mixture into the flour mixture, and combine with a fork just until there is no dry flour left. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball.

Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each one separately. Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, and roll in only one direction (not back and forth). Last time I did it, I went for a rectangle. This time, I let it take on the shape it wanted... a sort of loose oval.

Bake it for 12 minutes, until the crust is starting to become golden.

While it is baking, prepare the toppings:
First, mix the ricotta with the garlic, chives, and basil, and set aside.
Using a vegetable peeler (I used my new y-shaped peeler. For $4.99, it is giving me a whole new happy life in the kitchen! Why didn't I invest in this baby sooner?), cut the zucchini into thin ribbons. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

When the crusts are done, remove it from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes to cool a little bit.

Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over both crusts.

Spread the zucchini strips in an overlapping layer over the torts, and sprinkle with the crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Place it back in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the zucchini starts to soften.

When it comes out of the oven, top it with the tomatoes, and cut into pieces.