A Savory Crostata: Zucchini with Ricotta Filling

A Savory Crostata, Zucchini, Ricotta, Italian food, italian culture, italian heritage, italian american, italian news, italian traditions

Zucchini Crostata with Ricotta Filling

 

Italians have a way with vegetables.  Whether it’s a slow stovetop sauté or a hot roast in a fast oven, Italian vegetable cookery shows off the genius of the cuisine.  Try this savory twist on the crostata, the classic free form, open-face tart.  
 
I’ve combined whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour along with olive oil to produce a light, but flavorful crust that is a dream to roll out.  Fresh ricotta, dabbed with sautéed pancetta and green onions, flecked with lemon zest and delightfully fragrant lemon or lime thyme forms the base for a topping of thinly sliced coins of zucchini.  
 
A generous dribble of one of Abruzzo’s finest olive oils, Agrumato Lemon, keeps the zucchini moist as it roasts while adding the bright flavor of citrus, and a light egg wash imparts a bit of sheen to the pleated crust.  This savory offering is delicious for lunch, an afternoon snack, or as part of an antipasto platter.
 
  

  

The Agrumato Lemon oil, an Abruzzese specialty, is produced by the Ricci Family (www.agrumato.it).  The oil is pressed at the end of the raccolta (olive harvest) when newly picked olives are pressed together with organic lemons between granite stones, producing an exceptionally beautiful yellow-green oil, its fresh, clean flavor redolent of lemon and bursting with the fruity taste of olives.  In years past this oil was shared only with family and friends, but now it is being produced on a commercial scale.  It is available from Olio2Go (www.olio2go.com). 
 
Crostata di Ricotta e Zucchine
Zucchini Crostata with Ricotta Filling
serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as an antipasto or snack
 
Crust
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
¼ cup whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup plus 3 tablespoons cool water
 
Filling  
 

 

 
12 oz. whole milk ricotta, drained for at least 4 hours
2 medium zucchini, about 9 oz., thinly sliced into 1/16 to ⅛-inch coins
3 oz. pancetta, cut into ¼-inch dice
2 bunches green onions, white parts only, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon or lime thyme leaves, chopped to yield about 1 teaspoon, plus whole sprigs to garnish
Grated zest of 1 organic lemon
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon Agrumato Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Egg Wash
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
 
Drain the ricotta: place the ricotta in a sieve set over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the refrigerator to drain at least 4 hours.
 
Make the crust: place the flours, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, baking powder, and nutmeg in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to combine.  In a measuring cup combine olive oil and cool water.  Remove the feed tube from the processor, and with the machine running, slowly add liquid.  Process until ingredients are well combined, and the dough gathers around the blade, adding more water if necessary. Remove the blade, and turn the dough out onto the counter.  Knead briefly, and form the dough into a disk.  Wrap in plastic, and set aside to rest 30 minutes.
 
Prepare the oven: place the oven rack with a baking stone in the lower third of the oven.  Preheat to 375 degrees F.
 
Make the filling: pour 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a 9-inch skillet.  Over medium heat sauté the pancetta until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.  With a slotted spoon transfer the cooked pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Add the sliced green onions and a pinch of sea salt and sauté over medium heat until softened and translucent, but not browned, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a small bowl.
 
Place the drained ricotta in a medium bowl, discarding accumulated liquid.  Combine the ricotta with chopped thyme, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and ground nutmeg.
Roll the dough: Cut a round of parchment 16 inches in diameter, and dust generously with flour.  Unwrap the dough, placing it on the center of the parchment.  With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 14-inch circle.  Transfer the dough and parchment to a large baking steel or baking sheet.
 
Assemble the crostata: Dab the ricotta filling over the rolled dough, spreading it evenly, leaving a 1-inch border.  Sprinkle the green onions over the ricotta, followed by half of the pancetta. Arrange the sliced zucchini over the ricotta.  Top with the remaining pancetta.
 
Carefully fold the border over the zucchini, pleating it to make a circle.  Make an egg wash by lightly beating the egg and water together.  Brush the egg wash over the pleated border.  Dribble about 2 tablespoons of Agrumato Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the zucchini to moisten it uniformly, and sprinkle a few twists of black pepper over the zucchini.  
 
Transfer the crostata on the baking sheet to the preheated baking stone.  Bake until lightly browned and zucchini is cooked through, about 45 to 47 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool 15 minutes.  Garnish with sprigs of thyme.  Cut and serve.
 
To view a step by step photo essay, visit AdriBarrCrocetti.com

Receive More Stories Like This In Your Inbox

SPONSORED

Recommended

Neapolitan sugo di pomodori

The year was 1921, the place Ellis Island. My maternal grandmother, single, arrives into port from Napoli on the ship Patria to be with her sister...

Just like getting a piece of Italy home every month: here’s EatTiamo!

Opening up a box we don’t know the content of: isn’t that magic? It’s like going back to our childhood’s Christmases, to all those moments of joy and...

Pasta Grannies: Italian nonne take YouTube by Storm

If you are familiar with all that’s trending on YouTube , then you may know The Pasta Grannies, a channel with more than 400.000 subscribers where...

Palermo’s own Sunday feast: timballo di anelletti al forno

Baked anelletti pasta is a recipe traditional to Palermo, but it is a dish that holds a special place in the hearts of almost all Sicilians. If you...

Genoa’s pride and glory: focaccia Genovese

Back in the day, one of our favorite places for a nice affordable meal close by our apartment in central Rome was Taverna Parione. Located on a small...

Weekly in Italian

Recent Issues