Spring Vegetable Ricotta Tart with Phyllo

spring vegetable ricotta tart What do you do with a bunch of asparagus, some artichoke hearts, a handful of fava beans, a leek and a few cherry tomatoes? You make a tart of course!

I always buy a pound or two of ricotta every week and I like to keep a box of phyllo dough handy at all times, it’s amazing what you can do with it, it’s so easy and forgiving to work with, and besides, I love the crunch factor it gives!

spring vegetable ricotta tart The ricotta cheese is pumped up and flavored with a hint of garlic, fresh basil, grated romano, asiago and fontina cheeses and an egg which makes for a creamy and very flavorful filling  to have on top of the crunchy phyllo.

spring vegetable tart

Press your pre-roasted vegetables right into the ricotta mixture and bake until the phyllo reaches a rich golden brown and the ricotta sets up.

All you’ll need is a salad on the side and your spring meal is complete!

avocado and tomato salad This is the salad I served with my tart, a combination of tomatoes, avocado and olives on a bed of arugula with a lemon and olive oil dressing.

Dig in, you won’t even miss the meat!

Spring Vegetable Ricotta Tart with Phyllo
 
Ingredients
  • I used an 11½" x 7½" rectangle tart pan with removable bottom so the recipe will reflect that size pan, but feel free to adjust the recipe if using a 9 or 10 inch round tart pan instead.
  • 4 cups of ricotta, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • handfull of chopped fresh basil
  • ½ cup of grated romano cheese
  • ½ cup of grated fontina
  • ½ cup of grated asiago
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 sheets of phyllo dough
  • olive oil, preferably in spray form
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut in half diagonally
  • a large leek, cleaned thoroughly and sliced into rounds
  • ½ cup cooked and shelled fava beans or replace with peas
  • 1 heaping cup or so of artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup or so cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Instructions
  1. Pre-roast all veggies except the tomatoes, if using fava beans have them preboiled with skins off, if using peas instead, frozen and defrosted is fine.
  2. In a bowl whip the romano, asiago, fontina along with the basil, garlic and eggs into the ricotta until well incorporated.
  3. Layer each sheet of phyllo one by one into your olive oil greased tart pan fitting it in around the bottom and sides and spraying or brushing each sheet with olive oil as you go, if it rips don't worry it will look fine in the end.
  4. When finished layering each sheet spread the ricotta mixture all over.
  5. Press your veggies all around into the ricotta.
  6. Drizzle the top of the tart and sides of dough with olive oil, sprinkle with romano and bake.
  7. Bake in a 400 F. oven, keep checking after 15 minutes, make sure the crust is deep golden and ricotta is set.
  8. Let it cool down before you cut into it.

 

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Grilled Vegetable Tart with Phyllo

Have I told you how much I love using phyllo? It’s so forgiving and you don’t have to be so precise! It makes the most perfect, light and flaky, crunchy base for my grilled vegetable tart.
Grilled vegetables are a thing of beauty, I love all the colors, and the flavors are so enhanced by a simple brushing of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. I try to grill them on a weekly basis then tuck them away in my fridge so I can incorporate them into my meals.
Once your vegetables are grilled this recipe is super simple. Grab a tart pan with removable bottom and brush with olive oil. Open a box of phyllo dough and take a phyllo sheet and place it into the tart pan, no worries if it rips, you can patch it up and no one will ever know! Brush each layer with olive oil then sprinkle with grated romano cheese and fresh ground pepper. Do six or seven layers like that.
When you get to the last layer add slices of cheese, I used an aged Asiago.  Arrange your grilled veggies on top and place in a 400 degree oven until phyllo is dark golden and cheese is melted. Mine took around 20 minutes or so.
Garnish with fresh basil and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano!
I served my tart with a spicy arugula salad on the side, simply dressed with fresh lemon and olive oil.
Buon Appetito!

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I’m Not Afraid of Phyllo Anymore!

I’ve been out the kitchen for a while enjoying the birth of my sweet new baby granddaughter. Her name is Analena, and she’s just as beautiful as her name! I could hold her for hours ( and I have) and never tire. We just can’t get enough of her!

But now I’m back in the kitchen enjoying the bounty of summer with all the apricots and peaches that are in the markets, and thinking of different ways to use up all my tomatoes!
I’ve always had a fear of phyllo, because every time I worked with it disaster struck, it would tear and be a big mess. But I wanted to conquer it once and for all because phyllo can be a great alternative to a pastry crust. Its light, flaky and crispy and as long as you don’t drench it in melted butter or olive oil it can be a perfect low fat choice for the crust of a tart. I thawed mine in the frig for 24 hours, I think that was key.

I roasted my apricots in the oven at 400F with just a sprinkling of brown sugar until soft, about 20 minutes. Mixed 1lb of ricotta with 2 eggs, orange zest, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of cornstarch,1/4 cup of sugar ( or Splenda), and a heaping TBL of apricot preserves. Sprayed my tart pan with butter spray, which will cut down big time on the calories along with butter spraying each of my 7 layers of phyllo which I placed one by one in the tart pan. Spread my ricotta on the phyllo dough and positioned the apricots on top. Baked it for about 1/2 hour in a 375F oven, you want it golden brown and crispy, so just keep checking. While still warm, glaze the top with thinned out apricot preserves. Drizzle some honey on your slice!
For the tomato tart I used my red and yellow heirlooms that I cut into a 1/4″ slice. I let them drain out a little because they were super juicy. Mixed 1lb of ricotta with 1 egg, grated romano cheese, grated asiago, and fresh chopped basil, salt and pepper. This time I sprayed my tart pan with olive oil spray, along with each sheet of phyllo, I used 7 sheets. Layered the tomatoes around the top, and baked until golden and crispy, about the same time and temperature as above. Depending on how juicy your tomatoes are you might have to cook it longer, I did.

These tarts are best if eaten the same day, but if you have leftovers like I did, don’t worry if your phyllo becomes soggy. I just put my leftover pieces on a baking sheet in a 400F oven and it all became nice and crispy again!
Phyllo is now my friend and I can’t wait to use it again!

Enjoy your weekend, and Buon Appetito!

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