Italian Courgette Crostata with Goat’s Cheese, Garlic and Basil

11 Oct

There is a whole field of courgette plants that I pass every morning with the dog. I have been watching the vegetables grow out of their delicate sunshine flowers and waiting for the day that I arrive and they have  all been harvested. I really hope they don’t leave them too long. They do that a lot here. Leave the courgettes to get too big before they pick them. I know if you grow your own that it is difficult to keep up with the mountain of courgettes that the plants produce but on a farm there is no excuse.

There is nothing worse than big, fat, watery courgettes. You really need them when they are young, firm and still squeaky. Like these ones I found at the market on Sunday.  These were only a euro for a kilo so I had to buy a kilo obviously.

Then you get home and realise you have a load of courgettes. One of my favourite things to cook with them at the moment is this crostata, we have it for dinner about once a week. A crostata is a freeform tart, an Italian version of a French galette. You cut a big circle of pastry, leave an inch or two border spread the base with some ricotta or yoghurt mixed with garlic & herbs, then make pretty concentric circles with courgette slices and brush with some herby garlic oil. You then roll up and crimp the edges and bake. It’s as easy as that, especially with this quick olive oil pastry recipe.

Courgette Crostata with Goat’s Cheese, Garlic & Basil Oil

Serves 4-6 as part of a meal. Vegetarian. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the spelt olive oil pastry:

  • 250 g spelt or wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried herbs (I used 1/2 thyme 1/2 oregano)
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) cold water

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and herbs, drizzle in the olive oil mixing/mashing it in with a fork until well combined (a bit like crumble mix). Measure out the water then add an ice-cube to it. Slowly pour the cold water (not the ice-cube) into the flour and mix it in with the fork until just absorbed then bring it together with one hand kneading a little just until it forms a cohesive ball. Do not over work or it will be tough. shape into a flat disc, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge until ready to use. It doesn’t need long but will keep well for a few days like that.

For the filling:

  • 2 firm small/med. courgettes, sliced into 1/2 cm coins on a slight diagonal
  • 1 pot goats yoghurt (about 100ml) or ricotta or greek yoghurt
  • a handful of grated manchego cheese (or parmesan/cheddar)
  • 25 gr crumbled goats cheese or feta
  • grated lemon zest 1/2 tsp
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1+1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • fresh basil leaves, finely sliced (plus extra for garnish)  or 1 tsp basil pesto
  • salt & black pepper

Lay the courgette slices on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt and leave to sit while you prepare the pastry & filling.

In a small bowl mix (or blend) together the olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes, basil (or pesto) & lemon zest. Mix 1 tbsp of this in another bowl with the yoghurt (or ricotta), and cheeses. Season with salt & black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with baking paper.  Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface, turning it quarter turns as you go to stop it sticking, to a very rough circle about 2-3 mm thick.  Take your largest dinner plate or serving plate,  place it lightly on the pastry and cut around it, remove the excess pastry and keep it in the fridge if there is enough for another small tart. Remove the plate with a sharp knife and lift the circle carefully, on a floured rolling pin, onto the lined baking tray.

Leaving a border round the edge of about an inch or two, spread the cheesy mixture out evenly over the pastry. Dry the tops of your courgette slices well with kitchen towel and then start laying them, overlapping slightly, around the edge still leaving the border clear.  When you have finished the outside circle start another circle going in the opposite direction just inside the first. Then overlap a few slices in the middle. See pictures above for these stages.

Drizzle and/or brush the rest of the garlicky herb oil all over the courgettes and then start to fold up the edges by turning the paper and folding and pleating as you go. Brush the pleated border with a little olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until bubbling and golden. Leave to sit for 5 minutes then scatter over a few fresh basil leaves and serve.

Serve with a simple lemon & olive oil dressed green salad or this delicious White Bean Mash. This is a very versatile recipe, you could easily switch up the herbs and cheese to use whatever you have in the fridge.

I know I said I bought a kilo of courgettes and I only used two of them in this dish and I also know that a lot of you are overrun with courgettes at certain times of the year so maybe, like me,  you could have a go at making this deliciously light Zucchini Green Chilli Cornbread or these very moreish Baked Zucchini Fries as well.

Have a Great Weekend!!


18 Responses to “Italian Courgette Crostata with Goat’s Cheese, Garlic and Basil”

  1. cravingsofalunatic October 11, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    This looks fabulous. I love how pretty it is. There is nothing like healthy, yummy food that tastes good and looks good.

  2. Carolina October 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    That looks so yummy! I recommend you to save the courgette flowers. They are used in cooking as well, and they are really good! =)

  3. Conor Bofin October 11, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Another beautiful post. This looks delicious.

  4. emmycooks October 11, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    This is so beautiful! And I love all these flavors together. And the suggestion to serve it with white beans! Yum and yum.

  5. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen October 12, 2012 at 3:12 am #

    I think I love crostatas best simple because their rustic look is so appealing. I can just imagine the flavor in those courgettes!! xx

  6. peasepudding October 12, 2012 at 4:45 am #

    Love the autumnal photo, I’m going to make one of these with new seasonal asparagus, you reminded me how much I love the simplicity of them.

  7. Tammy October 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Gorgeous. I think we may be done with courgettes but I’ll take a look in the morning. Love the pastry recipe.

  8. Chica Andaluza October 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    It looks amazing – I adore courgettes, Big Man less so – so something like this would be perfect to tempt him with!

  9. Three Well Beings October 13, 2012 at 4:08 am #

    I love this recipe, but I think I say that to you each and every time you post. I think we share the same tastes, I just need to rely on you for the creativity! I will be making this recipe before the weekend is over! Fantastic! And I’m intrigued with the zucchini fries, too! 🙂 Have a good weekend, Natalie.

  10. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide October 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    What a wonderful dilemma to have. This looks wonderful too.

  11. fargopatt October 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    OMG!!! I deeply love courgettes, and this crostata looks wonderful!!!
    I´ve just found your blog and I Love it!! great food and excellent pics !!

    after reading most of the recipes, and found out we are nearly neigbours I´m going to cook some things, starting today for a fig dessert!!

    big kiss from Coín!!

  12. Flip's Foodie Files October 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    Fantastic photos!!!!

  13. dave & brenda October 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    Just made it and every scrap has gone …delish

  14. margaret21 August 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    I made this to eat yesterday evening. It was just perfect for such a hot day: Simple zingy flavours that satisfied without being in the least heavy. This one will become a summer standard from now on. I love your recipes and have recommended your blog to such a lot of people. And…. I know you’re busy, but are you posting rather less often these days?

  15. Kathryn September 15, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    Does this ooze in the oven? Odd question but I find gluten free flower difficult to bend and I’d like to cook it for my daughter in law without an in oven catastrophe!


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