Have you ever grown zucchini? They’re as prolific as bunnies. I hear requests all the time from home gardeners looking for new ways to use all those zukes. Breakfast bread, soup, salad… how about a pie? Crostata is just a fancy Italian word meaning open-faced tart. Don’t be fooled- there’s nothing fancy about this homey, delicious dish. The crust is olive oil based, which means it’s way easier to work with than traditional butter pie crusts, and comes together in a food processor in minutes. You’ll find that the Arborio rice plays an important supporting role, and gets incorporated in the dish in a very non-traditional way… uncooked rice sits with the zucchini to soften and absorb some of the liquid, and then cooks right in the tart. You’ll be blown away. Try with a light salad or little soup for an excellent lunch or casual dinner.
Do you live near Gainesville? Every year in May the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department holds its zucchini festival, and in 2019 they will celebrate their 35th year. It is a major fundraiser for the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department, with festival food being the major draw. There’s a contest for homemade dishes featuring zucchini, vendors sell fried zucchini, and local Sweet Dreams Homemade Ice Cream sells a zucchini and honey ice cream.
Zucchini & Ricotta Crostata
For the dough:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour or use all all-purpose
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup cold water
For the filling:
- 1 very large zucchini about 1 ¼ pounds
- ½ cup Arborio rice
- 2 cups ricotta
- 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
- 2 scallions chopped
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup buttermilk or whole milk
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Butter for the pan
- 9 ” deep pie plate or tart pan or you can use a sheet pan*
- Make the dough. In a food processor, combine the flours and salt and pulse a few times. Combine the water and oil, and with the motor running, drizzle it in until the dough gathers together. It should be soft. Turn out and gather together, wrapping in plastic, and let sit 30 minutes. You can also refrigerate it up to a day, bringing it back to room temperature before proceeding.
- Make the filling while the dough rests. In a large bowl, shred the zucchini using the large holes on a box grater and add the rice. Stir and let sit for at least 40 minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix well. This can be refrigerated until ready to bake, up to 4 hours.
- Butter the pan. Roll the dough out on a floured surface so that it is large enough that when fitted in the pan it will overhang the sides by an inch or two. Gently transfer it to the pan, then fill the dough with the zucchini mixture. Fold the overhanging dough over top, place on a baking sheet to catch any drips, and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45-55 minutes until the center is set. Allow it to cool for 30 minutes to further set the filling. Serve warm or at room temperature.