A cool spell has arrived and with it comes the promise of fall, which is my favorite time of year. The mornings of late have been cool and calm. Each day this week has been filled with tempting breezes that stir the imagination and revive the spirit. The blistering temperatures have given way to the 80′s…absolutely delightful weather. But let us not be lulled into a false sense of security, as this is but a temporary respite.
It is, after all, still August…and here in the South that means at least one more month of 90 degree plus temperatures, whether you call it summer or not! It also means that we still have some of summer’s bounty of food left to enjoy in the form of tomatoes and squash, amongst other things.
If you’re like me, I’m always looking for fresh ideas and ways to use delicious summer produce while it’s here. Squash in particular is something I enjoy, usually have a lot of in summer, and almost always make the same tried and true dish out of it. But then I came across this recipe in Cooking Light magazine’s July issue for a Summer Squash and Ricotta Galette, which you can see by clicking on the name. I love that magazine, and reading it has inspired me to make my own recipes healthier because of their wonderful flavors and ideas. Their recipe sounded and looked so tempting that it motivated me to move away from my usual squash casserole—not that there’s anything wrong with that wonderful southern dish. I was especially intrigued by their use of olive oil in the crust rather than butter and I just had to try it out.
And wow, was I so glad that I did! The result was a most elegant vegetarian main dish with a light and savory crust unlike anything I’d tasted before, and featuring a smooth, velvety ricotta base for the squash. It made quite a satisfying and tasty pie, a winning recipe for sure.
Since making it that first time, I’ve adjusted the recipe a tiny bit to add more of my favorite ingredients and tastes. I happen to love squash and tomatoes together, along with lots of herbs and goat cheese, and below is how I like to make this dish. While perhaps not the easiest recipe I’ve posted here, this isn’t a hard one, and it comes together fairly quickly once the crust has been made and chilled. We’ll be enjoying the cool spell during this taste of late summer while it lasts, and also as many of these galettes as I can get the ingredients to make!
Summer Squash and Tomato Galette
(Adapted slightly from Cooking Light’s Summer Squash and Ricotta Galette)
Note: You can make your crust in advance, up to a day ahead and keep it in the fridge until ready to use.
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 large or two medium summer squash, trimmed and cut crosswise into scant 1/4 inch slices
2 medium sized tomatoes, trimmed and cut crosswise into scant 1/4 inch slices
2 garlic cloves minced
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
3/4 cup ricotta cheese (part skim is fine)
3/4 cup grated fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Zest of a small lemon or about 1 rounded teaspoon
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1- 2 Tablespoons of crumbled fresh soft goat cheese (optional, but we like it)
1 egg white + 1 teaspoon of water for brushing the crust
15 – 18 fresh whole basil leaves
For the crust: Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor and pulse a couple of times just to blend. Combine the 1/3 cup of olive oil and the 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl. With the processor on, slowly pour the oil and water mixture through the chute and process until the dough is crumbly. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it just comes together, about 1 minute. Shape the dough into a 5 inch round patty, cover it with plastic wrap and chill it at least 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with either a Silpat or parchment paper.
For the filling: In a large bowl combine the squash, tomatoes and garlic, then gently toss them in the 1 Tablespoon of olive oil until coated. Set aside. In a small bowl combine the ricotta and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses, the thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, black pepper and the egg.
Unwrap the dough and turn out onto a flat and lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 14 inch circle (mine was actually 12 inches every time I’ve done this, so don’t fret). Gently transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Spread the ricotta mixture onto the crust, leaving about a 2 inch border all around. Top the ricotta with the squash and tomato slices, alternating in a decorative manner and slightly overlapping the slices. Sprinkle with the kosher salt, then sprinkle with the crumbled goat cheese if using. Fold the edges of the dough up over the edges of the vegetables, partially covering the outside layer and making sure the dough is sealed to itself so it won’t come apart. Combine the egg white and 1 teaspoon of water in a small bowl and brush all of the exposed edges of the crust. Bake for 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the galette to sit for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle the whole basil leaves across the top of the galette, and allow to rest for 5-10 more minutes. Cut into 6 slices and serve.