Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Little Slice of Italy - Pancetta & Leek Ricotta Tart

My friend Dajana, in Italy, has some fantastic recipes. I have a special love for Italian cuisine, so when Dajana told me about this Pancetta-Leek-Ricotta Tart on BakeSpace, I was all over it. I had a problem though, my tart pan was much too big. And while the Tart was delicious!! It was a little thin, and ended up a little over done. It tasted SO good that it didn’t really matter to me, I ate the whole thing anyway.. :)

While out running errands on Saturday, I came across an 8.5 inch tart pan for only 3.99, so I bought it. This is a much better size than the 11 inch tart pan I had used before. Oh yes, I made it again, as soon as I got home. Trust me… It’s THAT GOOD!!

I did have to change it a little, I was out of Bacon and all I had was regular Pancetta, so I added Alder smoked salt to the filling in an attempt to give it a little bit of a smokey flavor. I made 2 additions as well, You see, Danielle was talking about her crispy Panko breaded chicken earlier on BakeSpace, so I decided to sprinkle some Panko on top of the tart for a little bit of a crunch, and I had a small amount of cremini mushrooms in my refrigerator that really needed to be uses, so I added them this time.

I don’t think the addition of mushrooms really improved the flavor in anyway, but I felt better about using them than just throwing them out on Monday. I hate wasting food. The Panko did provide and interesting textured crust without adding a whole lot of extra flavor or muddling with the deliciousness that is this tart. Seriously, you gotta try it.

I am going to give out my recipe for pate brisèe, but if you are not big on making your own pastry dough, by all means grab a box of ready-made pie crust in the refrigerator section, or use a 9 inch prefabricated “pie crust in a tin” from the freezer section, whichever you prefer.
I have already cut everything in half, this will make one 9-13 inch pie shell, I know the measurements look a little complicated, but as I said, I already cut it in half, thus what was 1/4 cup is now 2 TB

1 1/4 cups + 2 TB AP Flour
2 TB cake flour
1/2 cup un-salted butter, VERY cold, and cut into very thin slices
3/4 tsp Kosher salt
Approximately 1/4 – 1/3 cup very cold water (This will vary)

Slice your butter fairly thin, then place in the freezer.

Mix the flours and salt with a whisk together very lightly.

Add slices of butter and work the butter through the flour with your finger tips or a pastry cutter.

If butter becomes too warm in your hands, place bowl back in refrigerator. You still want to be able to see butter in the flour.
Add the ice-cold water and mix very fast with your hand just enough that the dough coheres.
Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour to let the gluten relax a little.

For the Tart Filling:
1 TB Olive Oil100 g (3.5 oz) Pancetta Affumicata (Smoked Pancetta or American Bacon) I just used 4 oz1 leek (see below)200 g (7 oz) Ricotta (13 TB or a little over 3/4 cup by Volume)2 eggs20 g fresh dill (chopped) (5 TB by volume or a heaping 1/4 cup)30 g Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/4 cup volume)Smoked Salt(Optional) 2 oz Sliced Mushrooms(Optional) Zest of 1 Lemon(Optional) 1/4 cup Panko(Optional) Additional 2 TB grated Parmegiano-Reggiano
Before I get started, I want to mention Leeks. I buy my leeks at Trader Joe's, even though they are technically more expensive per lb, however, I get more leek... Check this out. $2.69 at Trader Joe's (top) or $1.89 per lb in the Mega Mart (bottom). I get more leek for my money, even when the Mega Mart leek is cleaned up, I get about 1/2 the amount (white part only of course, cause the green parts are bitter) that I get with a Trader Joe's leek. Just some food for thought. If you are purchasing grocery store leeks, you may want to pick up 2 instead of 1.
Clean and slice the leek and mushrooms.
Chop the Dill
Cook diced pancetta with 1 TB of oil in a skillet at medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add sliced leek and cook for 2 minutes at low heat.
Add mushrooms and cook another 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and let it cool.
In a bowl, mix Ricotta, Eggs, Dill, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, smoked salt and black pepper.
Here is where I added the Zest of one lemon, just because I felt like it...
Meanwhile, roll the pate brisee out on a lightly floured board and line your 8.5-9.5 inch tart pan.
By now, the Leek/Pancetta mixture should be cool enough to mix with the ricotta and pour into the Tart shell, leveling with a spoon.
If desired, sprinkle the top with the Panko and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C (350 F) for about 30 minutes.
Serve warm.


Dajana said...

It's just great. No matter what other ingredients you add, it's the leek that will surprise you, I really like it.

Michele said...

Looks delicious!

Spryte said...

That looks PERFECT and so delicious!!!