Shall we make a zucchini tart?

Hello! On this second week of June we are going to bake a tasteful zucchini tart, which perhaps would turn to be a delightful appetizer for our Summer “al fresco” dinners in the verandah with family and friends or a fantastic snack for the children. Let’s do it!

As for the ingredients to make the tart, we need: 250 gr all purpose flour, 100 gr hot water, 100 gr extra virgin olive oil, a coffee spoon of sea salt, a coffee spoon of baking powder.

Let’s mix and work the ingredients all together, until we have a homogeneous mixture, which we leave to rest just for the time we will slice and steam (for about 10 minutes, or less) a couple of fresh zucchini.

Once zucchini are lightly soften but still “al dente”, let’s season them in a dish with an emulsion based on extra virgin olive oil, few drops of apple cider vinegar, hints of garlic, black pepper powder, citrus thyme and mentha leaves.

Back to the tart mixture. Make a disk of it. Help yourself with greaseproof paper and a rolling pin. Place the disk in a baking tray and make a layer with zucchini.

Add sweet rings of red onion (I used Tropea onion) and bake the tart for 45 minutes in the oven (200°C).

About 10 minutes before the tart is done, let’s add some cheese. I had some smoked caciocavallo cheese on top, which tastes very good with the sweetness of the onion and the zucchini.

Serve the crisp tart warm or cold. Any way it is a delightful dish for the Summer season.

A variation for the filling of the tart might be this gorgeous velouté sauce prepared with 200 gr robiola cheese, 100 gr spinach leaves, 4 small zucchini, a scallion, 800 ml broth, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

Chop scallion and stew it in extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped zucchini, spinach, broth. Cook zucchini until they will be soft. Work all ingredients and the robiola cheese in a food mixer and make a velvet cream. Use the cream as the filling of the tart and .. bon appétit! 

Pumpkin velouté and gnocchi: a light dish for your special dinners on this Holiday Season

   Hey, let’s cheer this November weekend with a tasteful dish that has the fragrance of aromatic herbs, spices and Holiday Season. At the food market I found a big round pumpkin that, for its characteristics, resembled a ‘cappello di prete’ (priest hat): most likely it comes from Mantova, Ferrara or Reggio Emilia areas, places in Italy where, according to history, after WWII, a prolific culinary tradition for the preparation of this healthy vegetable spread in many different ways. In particular, let’s think about the well known local ‘mostarda’ and ‘tortelli di zucca’ (in 1999, these latter were recognized as Italian Traditional Product by the Ministero delle Politiche Agricole).  What is more, because of its shape and tough-skinned surface, after an accurate work of emptying and carving, it might become a beautiful bowl for serving rich meals. Or, at least, if left to dry in the sun for some time, it might be used as water-bottle like in the ancient times people used to do.

     Back to our recipe, as always, simplicity is made of genuine ingredients for making good meals. In this case, one may choose whether to have a delicious soup or a refined course for special events that are going to take place during this Holiday Season. Indeed, we will start by preparing a pumpkin velouté and, in the end, we will also have the possibility to add some homemade potato gnocchi for a richer and more important presentation. So, fry gently some chopped scallion and red onion in extravirgin olive oil, add little cubes of pumpkin (about 500 g for 4 people), a sprinkle of cinnamon, salt, chili pepper and keep on hissing lightly. Perhaps you may add also a fragranced taste of Schwarzwälder Schinken. Pour half glass of wine (for the occasion I have chosen a Spanish white wine, El Coto De Rioja, since it has a fresh bouquet and is excellent for pairing with spices) and, as soon as it evaporates, add fresh rosemary, vegetable bouillon and let it boil until it will be a little reduced and the small cubes will be softer. Then, it will be time for making a velvety cream with your minipimer. According to your taste and preference, you can serve this delicacy to your guests as a rustic light soup (even better with dark rye farmer bread for example) or as a tasteful richer dish by adding homemade potato gnocchi and few slivers of Gouda cheese. I may suggest to decor your dish with leaves of sage. 

      Wish bon appétit and enjoy your weekend!