Thank you all for your comments and concern – your positive thoughts and kind words were very important for my getting better, for sure!
I have been thinking a lot about sweets lately – due to Christmas coming and the gifts I want to make for my friends and colleagues. I have so many recipes bookmarked I don’t even know where to start, really...
I found this recipe going through cookie and candy recipes for the holidays. I have no idea why it was filed in my sweet folder, but I considered it a sign. I’d rather have a sign like this than the one Francesca had in Tuscany. Eeew! :)
Polenta-crusted roasted ratatouille tart
slightly adapted from here and here
1 cup (155g) instant polenta
½ cup (70g) all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon + a pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, in cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ large onion, thinly sliced
1 small eggplant, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh oregano leaves, to taste
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese – I used the yellow mozzarella we have here, made with cow’s milk and that looks similar to Monterrey Jack cheese
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Start with the filling: preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºC. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat; sauté onion until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes. Spray 2 baking trays with cooking spray. Arrange the eggplant, zucchini and tomato slices on the trays in a single layer and brush with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle the tomatoes with dried oregano and roast the vegetables until soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Remove the vegetables from oven and cool.
Now, the crust: lower the oven temperature to 180ºC/350ºF.
Combine polenta, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor – I used my Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment. Pulse to incorporate. Add butter and oil and pulse about 20 times, until mixture resembles small pebbles. Add water and pulse until mixture forms a loose dough. Remove dough from processor and press into bottom and sides of a lightly oiled 24cm tart pan with a removable bottom (my pan doesn’t have very high sides).
Press aluminum foil or baking paper over the dough weigh down with uncooked rice, beans or pie weights. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and remove rice and foil. Return to oven, rise the temperature to 200ºC/400ºF and bake for an additional 5-8 minutes, or until no longer shiny and wet. Remove from oven and let cool.
Lower the oven temperature to 180ºC/350ºF.
Lay the eggplant slices on the bottom of tart; cover with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese and some of oregano leaves. Add the zucchini and onion, top with another 1/3 of the mozzarella and oregano, then the tomatoes. Top with rest of the mozzarella cheese, oregano leaves and the parmesan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and vegetables have further wilted.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before unmolding it. Serve warm.