Serves 6 to 8
In the Italian cuisine, dough is at the center of many dishes, whether turned into pasta, crostata, pizza, or torta. The dough is the carrier of other delicious products, be they vegetables, meats, fish, or cheeses. In Italian tortas, ricotta is one of the favorite fillers, often with eggs to bind it. One can flavor ricotta with just about anything; in this dish I use ham and mozzarella. Just think of all the other meats and vegetables you can add to give this recipe your family’s special flavor twist.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- All-purpose flour, for rolling
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 pound (2 cups) fresh ricotta, drained
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup cubed low-moisture mozzarella
- 1 cup julienned strips deli ham
- ¹⁄³ cup grated Grana Padano cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 10-by-7-inch baking dish with the butter. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 14 by 11 inches. Fit the dough into the prepared baking dish, letting the dough go up and extend over the sides.
In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, three eggs, the mozzarella, ham, and grated cheese to combine. Spread filling over the dough, and fold the dough over to make a 1- or 2-inch border. Press holes in the top dough with a fork, and brush it with the remaining egg. Bake until the filling is set and the pastry is golden and crisp, about 40 minutes. Let the tart rest on a rack for at least 15 minutes, to set, before cutting into squares and serving.