I’ve recently taken a keen interest in the practice of cooking with a springform pan. I’m not sure why, but there’s a certain something about that particular pan that brings out the kid in me—pull the clasp back, make the sides tighten around the bottom; pull the clasp forward, watch the bottom fall out altogether. It’s a sophomoric indulgence that entertains me in some small way. As such, for this week’s Meatless Monday dish, I was on the hunt for a recipe which would allow me to indulge my inner child, if only for an hour or so. After culling through a myriad of recipes, I came across one in a meat free cookbook that just arrived in the mail the day before.
The beauty of this Leek and Ricotta Tart recipe is that every ingredient you need is readily available in your local grocery store — it doesn’t require a trip to a specialty shop for anything. On top of that, it’s relatively easy to make as well. Now here’s the clincher: It also tastes great! My husband and I both enjoyed this tart so much, we went back for seconds.
Leek and Ricotta Tart
- 4 largish leeks, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 8 ozs. ricotta
- 2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
- 3 tbsp. raisins, softened in warm water
- 1 organic egg
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella (optional)*
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pastry…
- 7 tbsp. butter
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp. water
- pinch of salt
Make the pastry by crumbling the butter into the flour and then adding water to make a dough. Add the salt and sprinkle with extra flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat over to 375°F.
Steam the leeks gently for about 10 minutes and drain. in a heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat the oil and gently cook the garlic. Then add the leeks and stir to coat well with oil; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, mix the ricotta with the pine nuts and raisins, and bind with the egg. Add the leeks, mix well, and season; [OPTIONAL: add shredded mozzarella]*, then set aside to cool. Gently roll out the pastry to fit an 8-inch tart tin. Prick the base and bake blind for 10-15 minutes. Fill the tart with the leek and ricotta mixture, and return to the oven to cook for another 30 minutes or until risen and golden.
[This recipe is adapted from the recipe that appears in the book, “The Meat Free Monday Cookbook: A Full Menu For Every Monday of the Year” by Meat Free Monday Campaign, an initiative launched by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney]
*The addition of shredded mozzarella does not appear in the original recipe. However, I added it because I thought it would pair nicely with the ricotta … and it does.
[Image from the book, “The Meat Free Monday Cookbook: A Full Menu For Every Monday of the Year”]