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Cooking the Book: Zucchini, Tomato and Ricotta Tarts

2012 September 5

While I wouldn’t call this one a FAIL, exactly, but it was pretty much a big let down. FAIL-ish, I guess you could say. Perhaps it was more of my enthusiasm blowing expectations up to an unreasonable point that no recipe could live up to. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that this is the cover shot of the cookbook so of course I got all excited about it. Or perhaps the vegetables were not up to snuff, in spite of it being pretty much peak season for both zucchini and tomatoes.

Whatever the reason, this one was very pretty but won’t be making an repeat appearance at our house.

If you give this one a whirl, please report back in the comments — I’m curious to hear how it turns out for someone else.

The Good

Visually it’s terrific. The best part of the flavors, however, was the garlic oil. It really tied everything together and brought in a lovely mellow spiciness perfect for late summer.

The Bad

The tart was surprisingly bland, even after leaving it in the oven for nearly twice as long as the recipe called for. The mozzarella in the base mixture was barely noticeable and the whole think was surprisingly heavy.

Overall, it was just… meh.

The Leftovers

I had probably enough zucchini and tomatoes to make another tart, maybe two. Since I used 4-inch mini tart pans as recommended in the recipe, I have no idea why this would happen, other than the possibility that my cherry tomatoes were freakishly large and, since I chose a zucchini roughly the same circumference of the tomatoes, they ended up filling the tarts double fast.

 Zucchini, Tomato and Ricotta Tarts

from Cooking for Two, 2011

Yellow squash can be substituted for the zucchini.


9 cherry tomatoes

salt and pepper

1/2 small zucchini (about 3 ounces), halved lengthwise, sliced 1/8 inch thick

1 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small garlic clove, minced

2 ounces whole-milk or part-skim ricotta (about 1/4 cup)

2 Tablespoons shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese

1 recipe All-Butter Tart Shells, baked and cooled [click the link for the recipe/method I use]

1 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Slice 7 tomatoes into 1/8-inch thick rounds (you should get about 5 slices from each tomato); quarter remaining 2 tomatoes.

Toss tomatoes with 1/4 teaspoon salt and spread out on paper towels. Toss zucchini with 1/4 teaspoon salt and spread out on paper towels. Let vegetables drain for 30 minutes, gently blot dry before using.

Meanwhile, combine 1 Tablespoon  oil, ricotta and mozzarella and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spread ricotta mixture evenly in tart shells. Shingle alternating slices of tomato and zucchini around outside edge of tarts. Place quartered tomatoes in center of tarts.

Drizzle garlic oil mixture over vegetables.

Bake tarts on rimmed baking sheet until cheese is bubbling and vegetables are slightly wilted, 20 to 25 minutes. Let tarts cool on baking sheet for 20 minutes. To serve, remove outer metal ring between tart and pan bottom and carefully slide tart onto plate. Sprinkle with basil and serve warm or at room temperature.

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