Dinner from Farmer Bob's Garden: Zucchini, Onion and Ricotta Pie

Farmer Bob and Sue's summer dinner. Photo by Sue Frause.

It's zucchini time! It seems that years ago home gardeners let their zukes grow really large. Here on the island our kids wanted to grow 'em big so they could snag blue ribbons at the Island County Fair. And then there were those veggie pranksters who would deposit their unwanted behemoth squash on the doorsteps of unknowing recipients. 

Well, a lot has changed since the '80s. Our kid is no longer a kid, and the Island County Fair has changed its name to the Whidbey Island Area Fair. The only thing that's the same is the location, which is still the Island County Fairgrounds in Langley. By the way, this year's fair is early, running July 31-August 3. Oh, and those zucchini pranksters? I haven't spotted a large zuke on a doorstep in long, long time. Maybe it's time to revive that summer tradition! In the meantime, here's a recipe Farmer Bob and I prepared for dinner recently. It was served with sauteed snow peas and onions from our garden, along with sliced tomatoes from the Star Store. BonAppetit!

Torta Salta di Zucchine e Cipolle (Zucchini, Onion & Ricotta Pie) | Saveur magazine

A savory summer pie with a base of fresh ricotta and eggs seasoned with shallots, garlic and pecorino is the answer to an overly abundant vegetable crop. This version from Italy's Piedmont region is made with zucchini and onions, but feel free to substitute with peppers, eggplant, squash -- even tomates. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2014 issue with Sophie Birckman's "The Feast of Life." 

Serves 6

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
6 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated pecorino
1/2 cup ricota
1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley
4 eggs, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp bread crumbs

1. Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat Cook garlic and shallot until golden, 4-6 minutes. Add zucchini; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; let cool. Stir in pecorino, ricotta, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper.

2. Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 10" pie plate with butter; coat with bread crumbs. Spread zucchini mixture evenly over top; bake until golden on top and slightly puffed, 40-45 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature

Farmer Bob placed squash blossoms on top before baking. And I recommend serving it with salsa to spice it up, as it was a bit bland. Click for a printable copy of the recipe. BonAppetit!


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