October 11, 2010

Cheesy Onion and Potato Tart

Picture this: I'm at the library to pick up a cookbook written by a local author. The librarian (who has some kind of vaguely British accent, which always makes someone's opinions seem more legit) tells me that she didn't find much she could use from that book, and she recommends this one, instead:

It doesn't have any pictures, so I would normally pass it right by. I guess I'm still a picture book kind of girl.
BUT, if there's one thing librarians know, it's books. So I take it home, look it over, and fall in love a little. It has fairly simple recipes that are chock full of seasonal produce and beautifully-written, appetizing descriptions. Plus, it's based on Italian recipes, so almost every recipe, from breakfast to dessert, involves some kind of cheese. That's my kind of cooking.

I tweaked the onion tart recipe a bit to make it reminiscent of a Spanish tortilla, with the addition of thinly sliced red potatoes. Be careful to keep the heat pretty low as you sauté the onions and potatoes: you want them soft, but not browned or crispy. If they do crisp, though, don't worry. It will still be delicious, just in a different way.

With a touch of sweetness from the onion and the bright flavor of fresh basil, this tart is ooey-gooey comfort food served warm, but it's just as delicious room temperature the next morning. It's substantial and filling but not too heavy, and the richness of the cheeses nudges it into the realm of decadence. Seriously, this is really good stuff. Like, have a piece for dinner, another for breakfast, and hide another to save for lunch good. 

My ricotta involved goats.
Yours doesn't have to.

It's busy-weeknight easy, too. The ingredients come together in a flash, and then you're free to (fill in your chores of choice) while it hangs out in the oven for an hour.
And if you happen to be my twin who has been looking for easy lunch recipes, this is it. Just, please also try to eat a vegetable (I know basil is green. No, it doesn't count).

Cheesy Onion and Potato Tart
Half a tablespoon seems like a lot of salt, but none of my ingredients were pre-salted. If your ricotta contains salt, adjust the seasonings to taste (but please taste before you add the eggs!).

Adapted from Verdura: Vegetables Italian Style.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 medium (or 2 small) red potatoes, very thinly sliced
1 lb. unsalted ricotta
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
4 or 5 large leaves fresh basil
1/2 tablespoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I over-toasted two pieces sandwich bread and crumbled by hand)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add potato and onion, cook over fairly low heat until tender.

Meanwhile, generously butter 9-inch pie pan. Spread breadcrumbs evenly over bottom of pan.

Combine all other ingredients (including potatoes and onions when done) in mixing bowl. Mix well. Transfer to the pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 1 hour, or until firm and lightly browned on top. Serve in wedges, warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4-5.

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  1. if i get all the ingredients to make this, will you cook if for me this weekend? and not let erik eat ANY?

  2. I just ate the last of it today! Why don't we cook something else this weekend, and YOU can make it yourself next week. It's super easy!

  3. Please make and review this so I can decide if I want to make it: