Some folks may consider this to be a summer dish when all of the ingredients are in season locally. Since most of the vegetables are roasted before forming and baking the tart, I’d personally call this one a cold-weather option. After all, every vegetable that you’ll need is available year-round and who wants to have their oven heated up for too long (especially to 450°F) during the warm weather?
Ottolenghi calls this his Very Full Tart, which is featured in his amazing cookbook, Plenty. I followed the recipe closely but added some specific details to the list of ingredients. Sometimes it’s hard to determine what is meant by “medium eggplant” or “small sweet potato.” I added the approximate weight of each vegetable to give you an idea of the size that I used.
Oh …and I also like to call my version “roasted vegetable tart” so that there’s no question when it comes to what we’re talking about here. The initial photo may remind you of a quiche. This is not a quiche …it is a savory tart that is packed full of delicious roasted vegetables, then topped off with cheese, fresh tomatoes, cream & eggs.
The vegetables are roasted in stages depending on the time required for each. Once the peppers and eggplant are placed in the oven, you can prepare the remaining veggies. The sweet potato cubes are added next …then the zucchini cubes. The sliced onion is sautéed on the stovetop until it is caramelized.
While all of this is going on, it’s time to get started on the crust. If you have the time and are so inclined, use your favorite homemade pie crust dough. I use Pillsbury refrigerated prepared crust and it works out really well. Ottolenghi calls for 11 ounces of pie crust dough …the Pillsbury package contains two 7-ounce crusts. So that the base of the tart is substantial, I use the entire package and simply double up on the crust. Once it is molded in the tart pan, I trim away some of the excessive dough and it works perfectly.
The dough is covered with a large sheet of parchment paper then filled with pie weights or dried beans. The crust starts off baking this way to prevent the crust from puffing up and losing its shape.
This is where it would be amazing to have two ovens in your kitchen. I don’t but if you do, fire up that second oven. You see, the vegetables are roasted at 450° but the crust and tart are baked in a 325° oven. So, most likely you’ll be putting that prepared crust aside until the veggies are roasted.
Since we are not that fond of the eggplant skin, I remove it before adding the roasted eggplant to the tart. Just a personal preference. Good either way.
Before pouring the cream mixture over the top, be sure to have the tart pan resting on a rimmed baking sheet. There’s a good chance you will have some overflow and the baking sheet will catch it all.
It’s hard to describe just how delicious this is. Hopefully, my photos will tell the story. And the best part is that this can so easily be switched up to suit your family’s preferences. Swap out the zucchini with broccoli florets. Instead of sweet potatoes, you could use red-skinned or Yukon gold. Maybe you don’t like the flavor of thyme, try rosemary or marjoram. Or both.
ottolenghi's roasted vegetable tart
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi in Plenty
A roasted Mediterranean feast finished off with a creamy cheesy topping.
- 1 red bell pepper (about 8 ounces)
- 1 yellow bell pepper (about 6 ounces)
- olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 2" cubes (about 12 ounces)
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled & cut into 1" cubes (about 7 ounces)
- 1 small zucchini, cut into 1" cubes (about 10 ounces)
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced vertically (about 5 ounces each)
- 2 bay leaves
- 11 ounces pie crust dough *
- 8 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese (about 4 ounces)
- 4 1/4 ounces feta cheese
- 7 or 8 cherry tomatoes, halved (about 3 ounces)
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Use a small serrated knife to cut around the stem of the peppers and lift it out along with the seeds. Shake the peppers to remove all the remaining seeds; discard the stems and seeds. Place the two peppers in a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with a little oil and put on the top shelf in the oven.
Mix the eggplant in a bowl with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Spread in a large baking pan and place in the oven on the shelf beneath the peppers.
After 12 minutes add the sweet potato cubes to the eggplant pan and stir gently. Return to the oven to roast for another 12 minutes. Then add the zucchini cubes to the pan, stir and roast for a further 10 to 12 minutes. At this point, the peppers should be brown and the rest of the vegetables cooked. Remove all from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°F. Cover the peppers with foil and cool, then peel and tear roughly into strips.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Saute the onions along with the bay leaves and some salt for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn brown, soft and sweet. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves and set aside.
Lightly grease a 9-inch loose-bottomed tart pan. Roll out the pie crust dough to a circle roughly 1/8 inch thick and large enough to line the pan, plus extra to hang over the rim. (See recipe notes) Carefully line the pan with the dough, pressing it into the corners and leaving the excess hanging over the top edge. Line the dough with a large sheet of parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the paper with the weights, then bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until it turns golden brown. Remove and allow to cool a little.
Scatter the cooked onion over the bottom of the crust and top with the roasted vegetables, arranging them evenly. Scatter half the thyme leaves over. Next, dot the vegetables with small chunks of both cheeses and then with the tomato halves, cut-side up. Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
Whisk the eggs and cream in a small bowl with some salt and pepper. Carefully pour this mix into the tart; the top layer of tomatoes and cheese should remain exposed. Scatter the remaining thyme over the top. Place in the oven, on the baking sheet, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the filling sets and turns golden. Remove and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before releasing the tart from the pan and serving.
* I use Pillsbury refrigerated prepared crust. Ottolenghi calls for 11 ounces of pie crust dough …the Pillsbury package contains two 7-ounce crusts. So that the base of the tart is substantial, I use the entire package and simply double up on the crust. Once it is molded in the tart pan, I trim away some of the excessive dough and it works perfectly.