Flaky crust, creamy ricotta, tender summer squash all flavored with fresh thyme, garlic infused olive oil, and shredded parmesan. Sound tasty yet? Well, it should because this summer squash ricotta crostata is great for any summer day – great for brunch, for a casual vegetarian dinner, to bring to an elegant lunch, or as a side for company. It’s all good!
After I made my Strawberry Ricotta Crostata, I really wanted to make a savory crostata. A little thought had me zeroing in on summer squash since we are heading into squash season when everyone will have piles of it. Especially those of you who can grow vegetables! I once grew summer squash and got not a one. 🙂 Really. I’m not sure if my husband was picking off the blossoms or small animals were having a feast, but I took it as a sign and now buy my summer squash at the farmer’s market.
Anyway, though I can’t grow it, I can cook it! And a recent visit from my in-laws gave me the perfect opportunity to make this summer squash crostata. Yep, I cooked and cleaned house and took pretty food photos all on the same day. Let’s just say there was wine at dinner when I finally got to sit down. Of course, there was also really tasty crostata, so I got a double bonus there.
A few things about the crostata:
First, I’ve changed up my crust technique and now I love the Easy Pie Dough Recipe on Serious Eats which blends the butter and most of the flour together into a paste before cutting in the last bit of flour. It’s so easy! The consistency is great. It’s amazingly flaky. And it really does roll out like Play-Doh.
Second, don’t skimp on draining the ricotta and salting the summer squash. There is a lot of liquid in this crostata, and to keep it from being a soup, you need to get rid of some.
Third, I highly recommend using a mandoline slicer for this recipe. I love my GSD Mandoline. It’s so easy to snap in the cutting blades and it holds up with frequent use. It takes me all of thirty seconds to pull it out of the cabinet and begin slicing and only a few more seconds to wash it up when I’m done.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 1 cup (140 gm, 5 oz) white all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (105 gm, 3.75 oz) whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- zest of one lemon
- 14 tbsp (200 gm, 7 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup (60 ml, 2 oz) cold water
- 8 oz (225 gm, 1 cup) whole milk ricotta
- 8 oz (225 gm) thinly sliced summer squash, cut into 3-mm discs
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 oz (40 gm) parmesan, shredded
Crostata crust: Mix together the white and whole wheat flours in a large bowl. Spoon about 2/3 of the flour into a food processor. Add the salt and lemon zest. Give the food processor a few pulses to mix everything together. Toss the butter cubes evenly over the surface of the flour. Pulse the flour and butter together until they have combined to form a paste and there is no dry flour left, about 25 pulses. Break up any large clumps of dough with a silicone spatula and then sprinkle the remaining flour into the bowl of the food processor. Pulse 5 more times to allow the dry flour to break up the dough, but don't let it combine with the butter.
Transfer the dough to the large bowl, sprinkle the water over the dough, and use the spatula to mix the water into the dough. Once the dough begins to come together, work the dough with your hands for a few moments, or until you get a nice, smooth ball of dough. Press the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
Crostata filling: Put the ricotta in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and let it sit on the counter for 2 hours to drain. Toss the sliced summer squash with the kosher salt and let it sit for 2 hours. Combine the olive oil and smashed garlic cloves in a small saucepan. Heat until the garlic begins to sizzle then remove the pan from the heat and let the garlic steep in the oil.
Time to assemble and bake the crostata: Preheat oven to 375F.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it warm up a bit before rolling. (The dough should be pliable, but not soft. However, if it begins to crack around the edges as you roll, it's still too cool.) Cut a piece of parchment paper about the size of your baking pan. Dust the parchment and the dough with flour. Roll out the dough, dusting with more flour as needed, until it's a 13-14 inch circle. Transfer the dough and the parchment paper to a baking pan.
Take 1 tbsp of the fresh thyme and finely chop it. Mix the finely chopped thyme with the ricotta. Spread out the ricotta-thyme mixture into a 9-inch disc over the center of the dough. Sprinkle the parmesan evenly over the top. Rinse the summer squash and pat it dry, then begin arranging the slices of squash over the cheese. Start at the outer edge of the cheese and lay out the squash in tight rings until you have covered the cheese. Extra squash can be used to fill in any thin spots. Brush the top of the squash with 1 tbsp of the garlic oil and sprinkle the rest of the thyme over. Then fold the edges over, pleating the dough and patting it into place.
Bake the crostata for 45-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Allow the crostata to cool until warm and brush the remaining tablespoon of garlic oil over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I recommend the GSD Mandoline Slicer for slicing the summer squash.
The crust recipe is adapted from Easy Pie Dough Recipe by Serious Eats.
You can do all the prep work - making the dough, draining the ricotta, salting the squash, and steeping the oil - the day before you bake the crostata. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, rinse and dry the squash, and put the oil in a cup - and put it all in the refrigerator overnight.