Zucchini & Ricotta Pie

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes one 10- or 11 inch 25- or 28 cm ) tart,

    8 to 10

    servings

Appears in

This pie filling is based on a chicken stuffing devised by the late Richard Olney for his 1974 book, Simple French Food. One of the times I visited Richard at his hilltop farmhouse near Toulon just prior to the publication of that book, he prepared a grilled butterflied guinea hen with this stuffing slipped under the skin. I remember thinking at the time that the stuffing would make a good filling for a savory pie—it has taken over thirty years for me to get around to doing it. If you use larger zucchini that are 2 inches (5 cm) or more in diameter, use 3 pounds (1.36 kg). The extra weight is all water, which will drain out in Step 1.

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Ingredients

  • pounds (1.1 kg) small, firm zucchini, shredded on the largest grating blade of a food processor
  • teaspoons salt
  • 1 batch Olive-Oil Dough for a double-crust pie
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium (about 8 ounces/225 grams) white onion, halved, and thinly sliced from root to stem end
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces (about cups/350 grams) whole-milk ricotta
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram, fresh oregano, or flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • One 10- or 11-inch (25- or 28-cm) fluted tart pan with removable bottom

Method

  1. In a bowl, toss the zucchini with the salt and scrape it into a colander. Set the colander over the bowl and let the zucchini drain for 1 to 2 hours. Rinse the zucchini, then firmly squeeze out any excess water, a handful at a time.
  2. While the zucchini is draining, roll half the dough and line the tart pan, as in the instructions. Roll the remaining dough into a disk about an inch ( cm) larger in diameter than your tart pan. Slide it onto a floured cookie sheet, cover it with plastic wrap, and set it aside while preparing the filling.
  3. After the zucchini is squeezed dry and you are ready to start cooking the filling, set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 375°F (100°C).
  4. Combine the oil and onion in a wide sauté pan. Place over medium heat and cook until the onion starts to sizzle. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the onion is translucent and wilted, about 10 minutes. Add the zucchini and stir everything together. Increase the heat to high and cook until the oil starts to sizzle again. Reduce the heat to low and cook the zucchini, stirring occasionally, until it is wilted and reduced in volume, about 20 minutes. Pour the cooked zucchini into a bowl and season it with salt and pepper. It should be slightly over-seasoned to make up for the addition of the ricotta and eggs.
  5. Add the ricotta, then the eggs, marjoram? -and Parmigiano-Reggiano one at a time,, stirring after each addition until smooth.
  6. Scrape the filling into the prepared bottom crust and smooth the top. Slide the top crust onto the filling and sever the edge of the top crust, pressing it firmly into the edge of the bottom crust with a fingertip protected by a folded towel. Use the point of a knife to cut several vent holes in the top crust.
  7. Bake the pie until the crust is a deep golden color and the filling is set, about 30 minutes. Cool the pie on a rack.

Serving

Serve the pie at room temperature as an appetizer, as an hors d’oeuvre with drinks, or as the main course of a light meal.

Storage

It’s best to serve the pie on the day it is baked, but if you have to prepare it a day in advance, wrap and refrigerate it. Reheat the pie at 350° (180°C) for about 20 minutes, cool, and serve it. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers and bring them to room temperature before serving again.

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