Sunday, 10 August 2008

cold courgette and ricotta tart

sometimes life gets so busy that i forget the joys of cooking, experimenting, impressing my non-foodie friends with my modest culinary abilities. but one day, all of a sudden, i remember how nice it can be to spend a whole afternoon in the kitchen, covering every available surface with flour, onion peels and milk stains, leaving chocolate smears on barely used cookbooks and filling the house with clashing scents of fried peppers and sprinkled cinnamon.

a little over a week ago i had one of these revelations and therefore decided to invite a random friend over to taste my very authentic, if not very traditional, italian cuisine. as i hadn't done it in a while, it took me a good couple of hours and a bunch of useless conversations to decide on the menu. the result was quite bizarre, a strange combination of grandma's winter dishes and summery picnic foods, with my mum's stuffed peaches as an eccentric conclusion. however, the dinner seemed to be appreciated by the guests (and the flatmate who ate the leftovers), so i thought i would share the recipe for the ever-successful cold courgette and ricotta tart.

as finding the right ingredients for an italian recipe is sometimes more difficult in england than in mozambique (i.e. finding them at an affordable price), i immediately gave up on the idea of courgette's flowers. if you find some, chop them up and add them to four sliced courgettes which need to be sauté in a shallow pan with a moderate amount of (extravirgin) olive oil.

on the side, mix 250 grams of ricotta (that's easy enough to find, thanks god), with two tablespoons of grated parmesan, 100 grams of feta cheese, an egg, a pinch of salt and abundant nutmeg. once the courgettes are ready, mix everything together, pour the mixture in an oiled baking pan, sprinkle with pine nuts (don't give up on them, they are the key) and bake at 200°c until brown on top...depending on your oven, consider at least 15-20 minutes. as the name of the dish suggests, this tart is better served cold, so prepare it early...