serves 4 - 8
1 quantity shortcrust pastry (see below)
flour, to dust
3 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large red or yellow pepper, cored, deseeded and thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, trimmed and sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp chopped thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 pound ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 medium eggs
1/4 pint heavy cream
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons pitted black olives
1. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 25cm (10 inch) loose-based tart tin. Rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
2. Prick the base, then line with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Bake blind at 200°C (180°C fan oven) for 10 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 10 minutes until the pastry is golden. Lower the oven setting to 190°C (170°C fan oven) mark 5.
3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the vegetables, garlic and thyme and stir-fry over a high heat for 5-6 minutes until lightly golden. Drain on kitchen paper.
4. In a bowl, beat the ricotta, Parmesan and eggs together until evenly blended, then stir in the cream; season generously with salt and pepper.
5. Spoon the vegetables into the pastry case and scatter the olives over them. Pour the ricotta mixture on top and bake for 25 minutes or until risen and firm. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold, with a tomato and basil salad.
The proportion of flour to fat is 2:1. The choice of fat is largely a matter of taste
- butter gives a rich pastry, but using half white vegetable fat improves the texture.
2 1/4 cups All purpose flour, plus extra to dust
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, or half white vegetable fat and half butter, cut into pieces
makes a 1/2 pound quantity
1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, add the fat and mix lightly.
2. Using your fingertips, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3. Sprinkle 3 - 4 tbsp cold water evenly over the surface and stir with a round-bladed knife until the mixture begins to stick together in large lumps. If the dough seems dry, add a little extra water. With one hand, collect the dough together to form a ball.
4. Knead lightly on a lightly floured surface for a few seconds to form a smooth, firm dough; do not overwork.
5. Wrap in Saran wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before rolling out.