A galette or crostata can satisfy the old fashioned, rustic European nostalgia some of us have for that history. Food is a passage way into feeling, our tightest trip in memory, and while I don’t think one should use food to change the way you feel, it is positively ideal for delving your current state to a deeper place. Our meals are stories we tell to plot our days and on the day I made this galette, I had a life not terribly unlike my own, except that I was a curvy French woman a century ago, turning the annual harvest into a light and savory summer pastry.
A crostata is the Italian verion of a galette. The Italian name simply means “tart,” so the difference between them is that a galette is pretty much always free form and a crostata does not have to be. Use either term as it suits your imagination. Both can be made sweet or savory. The latter serves itself well as lunch or hearty hors d’oeuvres.
This is also an excellent way to use up scrap pastry dough. Frankly, I don’t think it’s necessary for a galette to be as light and perfect as a pie crust, so if your dough is having a second turn in flour with a rolling pin, don’t fret about it with this recipe. If you have pastry pieces trimmed away for a pie, then just save the scraps in plastic wrap in the refrigerator until you want to use them, in the next day or two, of course. Because your galette is free form, any amount of dough will work. Just adjust your fillings accordingly. If you don’t have extra pastry dough, use the recipe below for a new crust.
I used the roasted vegetables (primarily tomatoes) I’d made from earlier in the week. Having the extra dough and the vegetables done really left this galette begging to be thrown together in less than 10 minutes. They thyme tied everything together and while this was meant as a quick appetizer to dinner, it really was the best thing served all night.
Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Galette
1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 tsp fresh)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (about 3/4 ounce)
3 cups roasted tomatoes and/or other roasted vegetables
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, very cold and cut into 1/4″ pieces
1/4 – 1/2 cup ice cold water
Preheat oven to 400°F.
If you need to make a crust, do so by combining the flour and salt in a large bowl and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or use a food processor gently. Drizzle in 1/4 cup of ice cold water and use a spatula just to pull the dough together. You may need to add another tablespoon or two. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and gently form into a disc. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Once your dough is well chilled, whether you made it fresh or are using leftover pastry dough, flour a work surface well and coat the dough with more flour. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a round. This will be about 12-13″ if you used the recipe above. Gently turn the dough a quarter turn frequently when rolling it out to keep the circle even and keep the dough from sticking to the board. You don’t have to end up with a perfect circle, because it’s imperfect, free form shape is what will make it authentic. Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment bigger than itself and slide the dough and parchment together onto a baking sheet.
Onto the filling. In a small bowl, stir together ricotta, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread the mixture onto the dough, leaving about 2″ all the way around uncovered. Top the ricotta mixture with the roasted vegetables and sprinkle with parmesean cheese. Fold the sides of dough up onto the filling, to create a free form crust that will keep everything together. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Transfer galette to a rack and cool. Cut into wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.