Friday, September 23, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Tart

Ohh the tart. The tart. The tart. The tart. I have been trying to master the technique of making you, but your elusive nature has made it so difficult. I've had some vast experience now of working with homemade dough, but the tart, why are you so difficult? Or should I say crostata. For those of you who are unfamiliar with all dishes Giada, a crostata is basically the Italian way of saying tart. And what exactly is a tart, you ask? Basically it is a pie crust, but can be used with savory foods or sweets. I have watched Giada make different types of crostatas on numerous occasions and she makes it appear so simple, yet I have struggled so grandly  with making the pastry! Honestly, I know what the problem is. A tart is very rich with LOTS of butter and I always try to healthy the dish up a bit. And I know, I know, the three rules of making a tart are: 1.) You don't tamper with the ingredients. 2.) You don't tamper with the ingredients  3.) You don't tamper with the ingredients. Well, that's what I did. I tampered with the ingredients. The third time that I attempted the apple crostata (I won't even bother discussing the first two attempts, you don't want to know.) I followed the recipe exactly...wait. No. I didn't follow the recipe exactly. Somehow, instead of lining the baking sheet with parchment paper, as directed, I used saran wrap. (Gasp!) Yes, it melted and I feared feeding our guests the toxic apple crostata. Although, it looked beautiful! 

So, even though the third tart was not edible, I realized I had finally mastered the technique. And honestly, I don't prefer making something so rich for the family to eat. So when I was looking at other blogs, I came across this recipe for a whole wheat crust. Yay! A healthier version of a crostata. But technically, it is not shaped like Giada's crostata, but that's because it doesn't have all the malleable butter qualities as does Giada's. But it's healthier and scrumptious! 

When it came to a filling I decided to go with my own concoction. I had looked up numerous tart recipes (Martha Stewart sure has a vast array of them, but that didn't stop me!) and saw the different flavor combinations and decided just to  put together my own preference of vegetables. I was a little worried on the end result, but it came out so, so good! Hubby, of course, wouldn't touch it with a ten foot poll since it has all of his nemeses, eggplant, tomato and mushrooms. Bambino had a few bites of mine when I was eating it and didn't spit out and came back for more. Woo hoo! If you're a health nut who likes fresh vegetables, you'll like this dish. 

Click here for the original recipe for the crust. (I did make some slight changes and used the same techniques as making classic tart dough)

Ingredients for the crust
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 tablespoons ice cold water

Ingredients for the filling
1 Japanese eggplant, chopped into small pieces
1 button mushroom, chopped
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup packed spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
goat cheese (optional)

Directions for crust
1. In a food processor pulse together flour and salt. While the food processor is going, pour in olive oil. Add in ice cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until it begins to bind. I used all 4 tablespoons. (My mixture was a bit crumbly)

2. Dump out mixture onto saran wrap. Close saran wrap and shape into disc. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. In a tart pan, spray with cooking spray. Spread out dough to shape pan. Place to side.

Directions for filling
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, combine eggplant, tomatoes, mushroom and garlic. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

2. Grease a cooking sheet with cooking spray. Spread out vegetables. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are cooked through. Drop oven temperature to 375 once vegetables are removed.

3. While vegetables are roasting, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add spinach and cook until wilted. 

4. Combine vegetables together in a bowl and add mozzarella. Mix. Place in prepared pie crust. Sprinkle top with goat cheese as desired.

5. Place in oven and cook for about 40 minutes, until crust is browned. Cool and enjoy!

Amateur Cooking Difficulty Score: 5
This one isn't too difficult at all. The crust is more of the feisty part of the equation. You could easily use store bought crust for this recipe as well. The filling is definitely worth making it for!

I'll definitely be making it again. It's the type of dish you would see at a wedding shower or baby shower. Definitely very girly. (I probably feel this way since my meatavarian Hubby did not take well to this dish and thus I am equating it with girlyness.) Regardless, I'm for sure making it again.