If my cooking could catch up with my memory, I think I’d be updating this blog several times a day. Once again, here’s a recipe I’ve had saved since the beginning of time. How on earth did I even remember I had saved this recipe, especially when it’s sitting amongst thousands in my Google Reader? I have no idea. But when I had an abundance of zucchini and summer squash, it was the first thing that came to me.
This pie takes the great flavors of lasagna, like tomato sauce and ricotta, and puts them in a healthy whole wheat crust. Like lasagna, it is savory and cheesy and wonderful.
I did adapt this recipe pretty heavily in that I made my own tomato sauce and also added a pesto-ish mixture to the ricotta (I didn’t bother adding cheese to the pesto, being that it was going to be combined with cheese, and I added just a teeny bit of oil so as not to make the filling greasy). I also topped the pie with just a bit of Parmesan.
I made this into a pie and not a tart because I don’t have a tart pan. I’d love a tart pan, but I’m not sure I’d use it terribly frequently and it would be taking up valuable kitchen real estate in my city condo. Making this in pie form worked just fine. I used a deep dish pie pan (despite the kitchen real estate conundrum, I still manage to own 3 pie pans, ahem) and kept the dough amount the same.
I don’t have pie weights, so I use one of the other two pie pans as a weight whenever I blind bake crusts. I will say that the bottom of my crust was a little soggy after cooking. I think a bit of sogginess is to be expected, given the filling, but I also realized after making this that Heidi asks you to remove the parchment and weights and bake for an additional 5 minutes—a step I managed to miss completely. I’m sure that would have helped.
At any rate, this pie is a great vegetarian take on lasagna and the pie crust takes less time to whip up than boiling and layering noodles would. It’s easily adaptable to any vegetables you have on hand, or of course your favorite tomato sauce. I highly recommend adding the pesto mixture, or some basil throughout the pie. It added another dimension, and paired perfectly with the rest of the ingredients.
Liberally adapted from 101 Cookbooks
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat flour, or spelt flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
~1/2 cup cold water
1 small to medium summer squash, thinly sliced
1 small to medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 cup basil
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
2 cloves garlic
a little olive oil
1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 scant tsp. red pepper flakes
1 (14.5 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
~3 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. oregano
small pinch of sugar
To make the crust, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the flour and stir it in. Slowly add the water to the dough and stir until it’s just absorbed. Add just enough water to form a dough. Knead a couple of times to get the dough to come together.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to the size you need. Transfer the rolled dough to your pie or tart pan, pressing it into the corners and up the sides without stretching the dough. Trim any excess dough. Place the crust in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375. Prick the dough a few times with a fork and then line it with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove the parchment and weights and bake an additional 5. Place the crust on a rack to cool.
Reduce the oven to 350.
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until tender. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir until the garlic is fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.
Add the tomatoes and a little water (I just add a few tablespoons or so to the can, so I can simultaneously get the remaining tomato sauce out). Season with the oregano, a small pinch of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Re-season, if necessary.
To make the filling, toss the sliced zucchini and squash with a little salt in a colander. Let it sit there to drain as you continue with the filling and sauce.
Add the walnuts, garlic, and basil to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well-combined. Slowly stream in a little olive oil (maybe a Tbsp) – just enough to hold it together, but not loose like a regular pesto. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine the pesto with the ricotta cheese and beaten egg.
To assemble: If the squash still has a bit of moisture, pat it with a kitchen or paper towel to dry.
Spread half the ricotta mixture over the bottom of the crust. Place half the summer squash/zucchini in one layer over the cheese. Spoon half the tomato sauce over the squash. Spread the remaining ricotta cheese mixture over the top, then layer the remaining squash, and finally the rest of the tomato sauce.
Bake in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the parmesan and then continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.