Appetizers/Starters, Dinner, Lunch, Sides

Tuscan Vegetable Tart

I decided to make this tart on a whim. Admittedly, a lot of my baking happens that way. I’d seen photographs of a similar tart a bunch of times, and I really like anything swirly in baking, so decided to have a go. Lunch on a Tuesday.

for the pastry
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, diced
6 tablespoons (or more) ice water

for the filling
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup ricotta
2 heaping tablespoons pesto
1/4 grated Parmesan
2 zucchinis
2 chinese eggplant
5 wide carrots (different colors if you can find them)
drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Blend flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather into ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare a 8 or 9 inch tart pan with cooking spray. Roll out pastry and place into the tart pan; trim, leaving 1-inch overhang. Fold inside rim and flute edge. Prick all over with fork.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, mustard, pesto and parmesan, adding a little salt and pepper to taste. Spread this mixture over the bottom of the prepared tart shell. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the vegetables. Cut the carrots, eggplant and zucchini and cut in lengthwise strips using a peeler or a mandolin slicer. Cut so as to have always show a small strip of skin for decorative purposes. Roll a strip of zucchini into a spiral and place in the center of the dish (with the skin of the vegetable up), then surround it with a few strips of carrots and eggplant until reaching the ends of the dish. Drizzle olive oil over all. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the crust is golden and the veggies (particularly the carrots) seem soft to the touch (I used a toothpick to test one of the carrots). Serve hot as a side dish or main course. Can also be served at room temperature.

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