Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Recipe: Rustic Tomato Pie with Pesto

The first recipe post since moving to the farm! Wooohooo!

Today was fun! First on the agenda was an early morning planning session with the co-owner of Tantre Farm for the 2011 cooking classes offered to their CSA members. Then a trip to the Ann Arbor Wednesday Farmers' Market, looking for any green garlic (our largest green garlic has all been sold to the local chefs, just the small stuff is left for us to use) and other early produce. It was fun seeing the market manager and vendor friends, assuring them that we'll be back in June when the garlic scapes are ready to harvest and sell.

I also talked with several vendors about ideas for food to serve at our open house the morning after our son's upcoming wedding. Then a quick stop at our 'city house' to say hi to my husband (working on the final little fix-it-up projects and beginning his 'big sort') and to put some pussy willow branches bought at the market into the vase on the dining room table.

Finally, my dietetic intern from Western Michigan University and I went back to the farm to begin cooking the rest of the day.

We focused on ways to use green garlic. As I already mentioned, there was none at the market this morning, so we used our own supply of tiny cloves and shoots. it is not cost effective for us as growers to spend our time cleaning up the really, really small green garlic to sell, so we use that ourselves.

I have a recipe that I have been saving to make called Rustic Tomato Pie with Kale Pesto Sauce. We could not find any kale at the market so we bought a big bag of large spinach (not tender baby spinach) instead (the flavor held up very well!). Tomatoes also are not yet available so we used dried tomatoes, which worked out great. The recipe called for walnuts, but I didn't have any so we used almonds in their place. And we were chatting too much and thus forgot to stop to buy ricotta cheese, so my intern suggested using tofu instead. I had the right amount of firm tofu on hand, so we used that as yet another substitute in the original recipe, which worked just fine.

Rustic Tomato Pie with Pesto

Make your favorite pie crust (or purchase refrigerated pie crust) for two pies
2 cups packed kale or other greens (washed, spun or pat dry)
3/4 cup chopped green garlic (whites and green leaves)
1/3 cup any nuts toasted
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
2-4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup part-skim milk ricotta (or 12 oz. firm tofu)
5 oz. package dried tomatoes (these were soft - soak to soften if tough and leathery)
2-3 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place greens, green garlic, and nuts into food processor and pulse several times until the greens are broken up into smaller sizes. Add cheese and pulse until blended but still somewhat chunky. Add olive oil slowly while the food processor is running, until the mixture becomes like a thick pesto sauce.

Place tofu into a medium bowl. Mix or mash thoroughly into small pieces. Add the pesto mixture and then mix all together with a spoon.

Spread the pie crust onto a sheet pan or cookie sheet, fluting the edges slightly. Spread the pesto-tofu mixture over the crust to the edge of the crust. Top with tomatoes, then fresh mozzarella pieces. If there is any extra grated Pecorino cheese, lightly sprinkle that over the entire pie.

Bake 15-20 minutes until the cheese begins to melt and turn slightly brown and the crust is a golden brown and smelling delicious! Allow pie to stand for 5 minutes before digging in - yum, yum! It would have been hard to wait that 5 minutes, except we were preparing the asparagus during that time.

Served with spring asparagus, quickly stir-fried in a cast iron skillet with additional chopped green garlic added just before serving. The small meal deserved a glass of red wine, but it was the middle of the afternoon and my intern still needed to drive home, so we only talked about how the wine would have added to the flavors of the meal.

This is absolutely scrumptious. I think any green could be used. I also think I will try making this thick pesto sauce and spreading it on a pizza crust for another variation the next time, adding the same or similar toppings. 

Here are some photos:
(Photo: Green Garlic cleaned and ready to chop)

(Photo: Pie crust made with white whole wheat flour - beautifully crimped edges done by my dietetic intern, who also has training as a pastry chef!)

(Photo: Spinach pesto before adding to the smashed tofu)
(Photo: Pie crust with pesto-tofu mixture spread to the edges)

(Photo: Pie crust with pesto sauce and dried tomatoes added on top)

(Photo: Pie crust with pesto, dried tomatoes, and cheese added)

(Photo: Rustic Tomato Pie done, out of the oven and ready to eat!
(Photo: Rustic Pie and Spring Asparagus with Green Garlic)
Here is the message of gratitude I read before eating:

May prayerful peace
flow outward from here,
touching with grace
all those whom you love
and all the earth as well. 

~Our Lady of Solitude House of Prayer
Black Canyon City, Arizona

The house smelled wonderful, like a home. A delicious and beautiful smell. Yes, it is still raining, but the day was beautiful, too. :-)

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Kateri said...

That looks so scrumptious! I will have to try this recipe when I get a bit of time. I have yet to pick any green garlic this spring. (Been working like crazy, so have done very little cooking the past week or two.)

I don't think I will be able to stop by any time soon for the Spring beauties. We are getting ready for a trip back east in the middle of every thing else...I can't remember how long the spring beauties stay green, but if it doesn't work to pick some up this spring, there is always next spring.

Melinda said...

All I know is I want to be your dietetic intern! Lucky are students who work by your side.
I wish you sun, and the ecstasy that is spring.
Melinda Hemmelgarn

Elaine said...

What a delicious, gorgeous recipe. My mouth is watering as I look at the photograph (mmmm) & write this comment.

And just as I begin typing the next sentence, my mom phoned. I think this is a recipe we will have to make and eat together.

Such a beautiful blessing, too. Through your blog, peace, grace & so much goodness flow out to the world.