Savory Vegetable Ricotta Tart

veg tart

A savory vegetable tart that features creamy ricotta studded with fresh spinach, roasted butternut squash and red onions that are packed into a crispy phyllo crust.

First of all don’t let phyllo pastry scare you, it’s so forgiving, you could accidentally rip or tear it and no one would know the difference, it hides imperfections beautifully. I use to be afraid of it, in fact I did a post about it here. That being said there’s always a box sitting in my freezer now for sweet and savory dishes.

creamy ricotta

Besides phyllo dough the other important element to this tart is a good quality ricotta. I always buy mine in the deli section of my Italian grocer and it usually has  some watery liquid that clings to it when they scoop it out for you. You’ll want to drain the ricotta for a couple of hours or even overnight, you’d be surprised how much liquid comes out, this should be done to ensure your ricotta tart doesn’t bake up soggy.

savory tart

Honestly you can top your tart with any roasted vegetables of your choice, I chose butternut squash because it’s perfect this time of year. You can also tailor this tart to what veggies are in season and what goes together well, like I did here with spring vegetables.

ricotta veggie tart

The creamy ricotta compliments the crunch factor of the phyllo crust with every single bite. You’ll love this tart for lunch, brunch or dinner with a green salad on the side, enjoy!

Savory Vegetable Ricotta Tart
 
Creamy vegetable ricotta filled tart with a crunchy phyllo crust
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 cups good quality ricotta, drained of any excess liquid
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 a nice handful of fresh chopped spinach
  • 3 small garlic cloves grated
  • ½ cup grated pecorino or parmigiano
  • 1 generous cup of shredded provolone or shredded mozzarella
  • 1 medium butternut squash, diced and 2 red onions sliced
  • 8 sheets of. phyllo pastry, defrost according to package directions
  • olive oil
  • fresh thyme
  • olive oil spray for ease of coating the phyllo
  • tart pan with removable bottom, I used a rectangle pan 11-1/2 x 7 -1/2
Instructions
  1. Peel, dice and roast the squash at 400F til slightly golden and tender on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little fresh thyme ( you'll definitely have extra leftover). Slice your onions leaving root in tact so they stay together when roasting.
  2. In a large bowl add the ricotta, eggs, spinach, garlic, pecorino and shredded provolone and mix it all up very well to a smooth consistency, add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spray or oil your tart pan, then one by one add a sheet of phyllo, spraying or brushing oil on each one as you go, layer by layer into your tart pan, at the same time being careful to cover the remaining sheets with a damp cloth so they don't dry out.
  4. When all the layers of phyllo are completed and oiled and into the tart pan, spread the ricotta mixture all over evenly.
  5. Top the ricotta with your roasted vegetables evenly spacing it all over. (I'm sure you'll have some extra squash leftover.)
  6. Tuck the ends of the phyllo all around the ricotta and tart pan.
  7. Spray or oil the crust all around.
  8. Add some fresh thyme, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of pecorino all around.
  9. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and roast at 400F for around 30 or so minutes until ricotta is set and the crust is deep golden.
  10. Let it cool down before cutting into it.

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Signature

Hearty Rainbow Veggie Salad and Beyond

veggie salad

It’s January, the holidays are over and if you’re like me there’s a need for a little detoxing, more veggies, less sugar. Although I enjoyed every carb ladened dish I had I’m now craving veggies and greens.

Chopping and prepping hearty vegetables in season is the perfect and ready to go stash for creating heathy meals that you can use in salads, soups and frittatas  during the week.

rainbow colored vegetables

Grab any of your favorite veggies, I used some I recently bought and some that needed to be revived in my fridge, you’d be surprised the amount you get when you slice a single pepper or a small head of broccoli.

roasted squash

I also roasted a butternut and acorn squash, two things I buy often during the fall and winter.

winter salad ingredients

This is definitely a substantial meal in itself with the addition of the roasted squash and some avocado resting on a bed of kale.

hearty winter salad

What kind of dressing would you use? I chose a hearty tahini dressing which really stood up to all the vegetables, bright lemon, garlic and creamy tahini, a recipe I slightly adapted from the What’s Gaby Cooking website.

tahini

Make sure to make enough it’s pretty amazing!

minestrone

You can always make a big pot of minestrone loaded with sautéed vegetables, simmered with broth, water and some spices. I like to add some beans and always a parmigiano cheese rind, it’s healthy, warms you up and it just screams detox!

veggie frittata

And finally you can never go wrong with a frittata. So many ways you can use up those veggies and it’s such a delicious and satisfying meal, here’s some ideas. 

 

Lighten up this January by adding more colorful veggies to your meals.

Hearty Rainbow Veggie Salad and Beyond
 
This Tahini recipe is adapted from What's Gaby Cooking
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup of organic tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon, olive oil
  • 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 or more tablespoons, fresh lemon juice
  • enough water to make a creamy consistency
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a bowl whisk everything together, tasting for enough lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  2. Slowly add some water little by little to reach a nice creamy consistency.
  3. Place into a jar and keep refrigerated.
  4. If it thickens up add a tiny bit more water to loosen it.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Signature

Party Size Lasagna

full pan lasagna

Lasagna is the perfect party dish when serving a crowd, almost everyone loves it and the best part is you can assemble it the day before so all the dirty work is done and you can enjoy your guests the day of the party.

There’s nothing like the comforting smell of lasagna cooking in the oven. Who can resist layers of a rich meat sauce, creamy ricotta, melted cheese and pasta sheets that meld together and become one.

cooked lasagna

This is an Italian-American version of lasagna, sometimes known as Christmas lasagna in many households. An authentic Italian recipe is made with a Bolognese sauce and bechamel, both versions are delicious in their own special ways.

There’s also hundreds of variations using fresh pasta sheets, dry pasta, no boil and boil pasta. I’m using dry pasta that I pre-boiled just until it starts to get limp. I never got into the no-boil trend, although I’ve tried several times I always go back to my “old school ” ways.

lasagna pan

Since this recipe is all about feeding a large party size crowd I recommend using a large roasting pan, about the size 15 x 11 x 4 inches deep or close to those dimensions, I’ve seen 16 x 12 inch roasting/baking pans on Amazon, even the blue speckled kind that I have.

One of the benefits of using this type of pan is that the filling is contained so well with no drip overs or spillage, plus you can make it several layers deep and it’s easy to cut.

lasagna ingredients

I would advise making your meat sauce one or two days ahead of assembly day so it’s done and you’re ready to go!

pasta layer

Make sure the pasta completely covers the whole bottom of the pan.

pasta layers

Spread your meat sauce and ricotta, you don’t need to completely cover each layer, with six layers deep it all gets covered in the end.

cheese layer

Mozzarella and pecorino cheese a must.

party size lasagna

Almost to the top!

prepped lasagna

Six layers deep all prepped for the next day.

deep layered lasagna

At this point just top it with foil and stick it into the fridge.

cooked lasagna

Baked to perfection the next day.

lasagna layers

A real crowd pleaser! Serve it as a main with a big green salad on the side along with some crusty bread.

sliced lasagna

The secret ingredient is love ❤️

Party Size Lasagna
 
There's nothing like a big lasagna to get the party going!
Author:
Ingredients
  • MEAT SAUCE
  • 1 lb. mild Italian sausage
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 4 - 28 oz. cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • fresh basil
  • 3- 1 lb. boxes of curly edge long lasagna noodles
  • RICOTTA FILLING
  • 3 lbs. good ricotta from an Italian deli which should be drained overnight so liquid is released
  • I heaping cup of grated Pecorino, plus extra for each layer
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped basil,
  • or ½ cup chopped frozen spinach that has been squeezed of all liquid
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • heaping ½ cup of shredded mozzarella, (dry, not fresh) plus an additional pound or so for the layers.( depending how cheesy you want it, I tend to go lighter).
  • olive oil
  • NOTE; YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE SO EXACT, THIS IS JUST AN APPROXIMATE AMOUNT.
Instructions
  1. Make your meat sauce ahead of time 2 or 3 days before assembling the lasagna.
  2. In a large heavy bottomed pan, brown your two meats together, breaking up any large chunks with a wooden spoon.
  3. When meat is brown, remove onto a paper towel to soak up any grease and wipe out any excess grease from pan.
  4. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan along with the chopped garlic, when golden add in all your tomatoes with a teaspoon of salt per can, use an immersion blender to make it smooth or squish them down.
  5. Add the meat back in along with some fresh basil and let it simmer for an hour or so.
  6. ********
  7. The day of assembly add your drained ricotta into a large bowl along with the grated Pecorino, ½ cup of shredded mozzarella, parsley, basil or chopped spinach. (at this point taste it for seasoning
  8. before you add the raw eggs, maybe you like more salt and pepper or more grated cheese, do it to your liking). Mix the. eggs and everything together well.
  9. Prep the noodles 1 lb. at a time, unless you have a huge pan, cooking them in salted water and a short drizzle of olive oil in the pot to prevent sticking, boil until the noodles are limp then pull them out one by one with tongs and place onto an oiled rimmed baking sheet to cool down.
  10. Repeat. Add more water to the pot if need be and get it to boil again before adding more pasta.
  11. *****For Assembly***
  12. Have your noodles, meat sauce, ricotta mixture, shredded mozzarella and additional Pecorino assembled in front of your roasting pan.
  13. Oil the pan on sides and bottom.
  14. Add sauce enough to cover the bottom of the whole pan.
  15. Add pasta noodles.
  16. Top with sauce then ricotta mixture, sporadically placed.
  17. Spread the shredded mozzarella and pecorino all over on top.
  18. Repeat up to six layers.
  19. Top layer will be sauce and pecorino.
  20. At this point, cover with foil and refrigerate.
  21. *****
  22. When ready to bake remove from fridge an hour before to take the chill out.
  23. Loosen the foil and place in a pre-heated oven at 375F.
  24. After 30 minutes remove the foil and top it with shredded mozzarella, as much to your liking and bake in for another 20- 30 minutes, then check it.
  25. The middle needs to be hot so check with a thermometer, temp should be at least 165 internal in the center and all around,
  26. Cook more if needed.
  27. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes or so, you want. nice cuts.
  28. Garnish with basil and more pecorino.
  29. Serve with extra warmed sauce on the side.
  30. Servings depend on how big you cut them, 15ish or so.
  31. You might have extra pasta sheets left over but you definitely need more than 2 boxes.
  32. NOTE: You can also make this with a marinara sauce as well and eliminate the meat. (I have a recipe on my website.)

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Signature