A frantic Monday at work. Honestly, if I did not have veggies in the garden that need to be picked and that took so much time getting to this stage, I would have fetched takeout (don’t get me wrong, we do have takeout pizza every now and then), or I would have made something else, definitely something with much less veggies.
While the dough was rising, I picked and prepared the vegetables for the filling. It took me a while to switch gears, but then I thoroughly enjoyed being in the kitchen and improvising this vegetable torta. I also found use for an almost full container of ricotta that was nearing expiration. The recipe for the yeast dough is from my favorite cookbook, or I should better say: my cooking bible, Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
Tonight was another proof, cooking can be great relaxation. And what I like about this blog is that before, I rarely wrote things down when improvising, so that very often I could not remember how much I used. Now I can because I am taking notes!
Summer Vegetable Torta with Zucchini, Eggplant and Tomatoes
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt
1¾ cups flour
1 medium zucchini
1 medium eggplant
20 cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces ricotta
½ packed cup fresh basil leaves
1. Mix yeast with sugar and water and let stand for 5-10 minutes until it foams. Lightly beat the egg and mix with the olive oil in a bowl (I use the KitchenAid for this). Add the yeast mixture and the flour and knead on low until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball.
2. Spray the bowl with olive oil and turn the dough over so the upper side is coated. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise 45 minutes.
3. Halve the zucchini and remove the seeds with a small spoon. Cut into thin slices. Peel the eggplant and quarter. Cut into thin slices (I use a mandoline for slicing). Quarter the tomatoes. Chop the garlic.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the garlic until translucent but not browned. Add the zucchini and the eggplant and cook for 15 minutes until soft and browned in a few spots, stirring often. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from the stove and let cool for a few minutes.
6. Lightly beat the eggs and whisk in the ricotta until smooth. Chop the basil leaves and add to the cheese.
7. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to fit a 9-inch springform pan plus a good 2 inches coming up the sides. Line the pan with the dough and smoothen out the sides so the crust is evenly high all around.
8. Mix the veggies with the cheese and season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the torta is lightly browned on top and the crust is golden brown. Remove the springform rim and let the torta cool off completely.