Zucchini Ricotta Torta is perfect to serve alongside any simple meat, such as roast chicken or simply add a salad and make it a great meatless meal.
The making of Zucchini Ricotta Torta
"What should we call this?" I asked as we sat around the table enjoying our dinner.
"This" was a zucchini pie, tort, quiche, frittata kinda sorta side dish that I invented to serve with my Perfect Simple Roasted Chicken.
A bit of all, but not entirely all of any.
Denser and less creamy than a quiche, no crust as a tart would have, and not omeletty, like a frittata...so what is it???
As we sat, sampled, and discussed, we decided it was more like a Spanish torta; so ladies and gentlemen, for your culinary pleasure, here is my Zucchini Ricotta Torta.*
"A perfect side for any simple meal or add a salad and make it a meal in itself."
But first, let me back up half a step.
I was planning a quick, easy, mid-week meal for my family and a friend who was coming over to learn about how to care for our chicken girls, Lucy, Lana, Ms. J, and Ms. Daisy, while we were away on a little working vacation. Our usual alternative "caregivers" were going on vacation at the same time; so we needed to groom someone new. It's one of those things you don't think about, how much care a chicken needs, but yeah. Even with the automatic door opening in the morning to let them out, and closing at night to keep them safe, you still need someone to come by and make sure their food is good, water is full and collect the eggs. One thing you DO NOT want to do is leave the eggs there, unhatched, for too long. They will start to peck at them to see what's up and eventually, they will peck all their eggs. And that you don't want to happen or it will become their habit. So you still need people to help when leaving Chicken Girls.
Wanting to cook as much from the bounties of my garden (and egg-laying chickens) as I could, I decided on my Perfect Simple Roasted Chicken, (I think serving chicken to someone who is going to care for my chickens may be a little "sick" but that's me 🙂 just a little sick) along with a refreshing Tomato/Cucumber Salad with some Quick Pickled Red Onions, and Savory Corn Zucchini Muffins; as needless to say, my garden is full of zucchini, cucumber, and tomatoes.
Since my peach tree is also full of fresh ripe peaches, Easy Peach Cobbler was the logical choice for dessert.
OK...ready, set, cook.
But wait a second. The salad, because of its juiciness will need to be in a separate bowl, so all that would be on the plate is some chicken and a muffin.
Well, that's going to look pretty stupid. A piece of chicken on a plate with a muffin ... nope, not going to work.
So I put on my thinking cap and tried to think of what I could do, that would use up zucchini and would be a proper side. I had the idea in my head of what I wanted, flavor-wise, now I just had to make it happen appearance and texture-wise.
To my cookbooks, I go, thumbing through and coming up with ideas on how to put this dish together. I knew I didn't want to have big chunks of zucchini, so shredding was going to happen. I also knew I wanted some onion flavor, so I thought I would shred that along with the zucchini...salt it (salting does double duty by making the zucchini sweat and lose water while mellowing the raw onion flavor at the same time); let it sit, rinse, drain and put in a towel to squeeze squeeze squeeze ALL the additional water out. Dry zucchini, that was key.
Then I thought of lasagna, quiches, and cheese. Ricotta. Good ricotta. Like my Homemade Ricotta. Such a mild cheese but good ricotta adds a velvety texture. OK...that's good.
Eggs. Yup, eggs. Get 3 - 4 a day...use those up.
And then add a little more flavor with green onions, fresh dill, and parmesan cheese, heck, how about some Manchego a nice slightly salty sheep's milk cheese? It's all good.
I made these in my individual tart pans so each person got one cute zucchini ricotta torta, but you could make them in a pie dish as well.
And how did they turn out?
A perfect side for any simple meal or add a salad and make it a meal in itself.
*Update: So after all that discussion, and after publishing the recipe, and making pretty pictures...my husband informs me that what he said was this was really more like a Spanish Tortilla. Tortilla? If I said this was a Zucchini Ricotta Tortilla, most would think I was talking about those flat corn things you make tacos out of. Further research has shown that this could also be close to an Italian Torta not to be confused with a crostata, due to its smooth filling made of blended ingredients.
Well, whatever. I'm going to keep calling it a Zucchini Ricotta Torta, cause it's a lot better than calling it a Zucchini Ricotta Thingy. Don't you agree?
Zucchini Ricotta Torta
- 2 cups shredded zucchini use only the outside, not the seedy middle about 2 large zucchini
- ¼ cup shredded onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion white and green part ok, but all green make it more visually pretty
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill weed
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup good quality ricotta cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ⅓ - ½ cup grated manchego cheese if you don't want to use manchego, sharp cheddar, Swiss, Gruyere, could be substituted
- Salt and freshly ground pepper as needed
- In a sieve, toss the zucchini and onion with the salt. Let sit for ½ hour, then rinse and press all the water out as best you can. Wrap the zucchini mixture up in a clean tea towel and twist it until all the water you can extract is extracted. You want the zucchini mixture to be very dry.Heat the oven to 425 °F.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs with an electric mixer, add the ricotta and mix well; add the parmesan, manchego, parsley, green onions, dill, and the fully drained shredded zucchini/onion mixture. Mix well.
- Lightly oil or spray the bottom of 4 individual tart pans or an 8-inch pie plate. Divide the mixture between the pans (or put in the big pan) and place on a cookie sheet. (You can make this dish to this point and refrigerate, covered, until ready to bake. Uncover and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking). Place in the oven and cook for 25 - 30 minutes, or until completely set, a toothpick stuck into the center should come out clean. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, remove from the pan or cut into wedges, and serve.