The other day, I needed to make dinner out of some Swiss chard, leeks, and ricotta. A quick google for recipe ideas, and I found what seemed like a sure winner: Lidia Bastianich’s Swiss chard crostata.
Indeed, it was awesome. And in the process of making it, I learned several interesting things. For example, a “crostata” is basically the same thing as a “galette“—that is, a free-form, rather rustic pie or tart. Also, this recipe demonstrates something that is pretty much lasagna filling (greens, cheese, ricotta, and an egg) also works great in crostata/galette form, sort of like an open-face calzone.
But most revelatory is the third thing I learned from this recipe. YOU CAN MAKE PIE CRUST WITH OLIVE OIL. I recognize that this is heresy for pie purists, but I’m not a pie purist. I’m a pie idiot. My goal with pies is to bake one worthy of the name by Pi Day, 2015. In the meantime, the idea that I can make pies (especially savory ones) with olive oil just blows my mind. The dough comes together easily and rolls out easily. It’s not as divinely flaky as a butter dough, and I wouldn’t do it for a sweet dessert, but for something like this crostata it was just perfect. Next time I may even try it with whole wheat flour—it sounds frighteningly healthy, but if Chocolate and Zucchini says it makes a great savory tart crust, who am I to argue?
Swiss chard and leek crostata
Adapted from Lidia Bastianich, via Serious Eats
1 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water, more as needed
2 leeks (white and light green part only), chopped and rinsed
1.5 lbs Swiss chard greens, cleaned, rib removed, and cut into strips
1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 sprig rosemary
salt and pepper
Make dough with flour, oil, salt and water (as needed). Once the dough obtains a smooth consistency, cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to rest while you prepare the filling.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softening, about 5-8 minutes. Add chard, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Simmer at low temperature for about 20 minutes, until chard has cooked down and most of the water has evaporated. (I was surprised, but it really did take about this long.) Drain thoroughly. If desired, chop coarsely.
Mix egg, ricotta, parmesan, cream, and more salt and pepper. Add chard-leek mixture and combine well.
Roll dough into rough round, approximately 10 inches in diameter. Transfer to greased pan or parchment. Spoon chard-ricotta mix onto dough, leaving about two inches of dough around the edges. Fold over the overlapping dough. Brush dough lightly with olive oil or egg yolk and bake for 45 minutes, or until crust is turning golden and cheese is bubbling.