Serves 6 to 8
When I was growing up, in the springtime, when my grandma’s goats were kidding, there was always abundant goat milk, and Nonna Rosa, my mother’s mother, made loads of ricotta on those spring days. We ate ricotta for breakfast, for dessert, and as a snack, and we made stuffed pastas, ricotta gnocchi, cheesecakes, and tarts with it. On Sundays, when my grandma had a little more time, she would bake, and a ricotta tart like this one was easy and fast. She made it with different spring vegetables from the garden, but one of my favorites was this version, with leeks. The kid goats were my pets, and I loved playing with them. Nonna Rosa had a pile of old clothes, which she ripped into strips and used to tie the tomato plants, the artichokes, and other vegetables. But we used the cloth strips to tie decorative bows on the kids and on the foals, when we were lucky enough to catch one.
- FOR THE DOUGH
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg yolk (save the white for the filling)
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into bits
- FOR THE FILLING
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking pan
- 2 large leeks, white and light-green parts, halved vertically, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 4 scallions, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg white (yolk used in dough)
- 1 cup good-quality fresh ricotta
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 large egg, beaten, for an egg wash
For the dough: Combine the flour, grated cheese, sugar, and salt in a food processor, and pulse to combine. Beat the egg yolk in a spouted measuring cup with 1/3 cup cold water.
Scatter the butter pieces over the flour, and pulse until the mixture is lumpy. Drizzle in the egg-yolk mixture, and pulse just until the dough comes together, adding a little more water or flour if needed. Move the dough to a floured counter, and knead it a few times to bring it together. Form it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill until just firm, about 1 hour.
For the filling: Melt the 3 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, and cook, stirring often, until they’re tender, about 10 minutes. Add the scallions, and continue to cook until they are wilted but the green parts are still bright green, about 4 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper, and let it cool.
Beat the egg white in a large bowl until foamy. Add the cooled leeks, the ricotta, 1/2 cup grated cheese, parsley, and nutmeg. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the bottom third. Butter a 9-inch cake pan. Roll the dough on a piece of parchment to a circle about 12 to 13 inches in diameter, and lay it in the buttered pan. Add the filling, and spread it to an even layer. Fold the overhanging edges in to make a crust on the edges. Brush the crust with the egg wash, and sprinkle all over with grated Grana Padano.
Bake until the filling is set and deep golden brown and the crust is golden on the edges, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Serve it warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.