Butternut & Pecans; Potatoes & Onions

Last night’s dinner was a combination of a favorite potato and onion tart and a box of organic frozen butternut squash ravioli. Not sure of the squash ravioli’s reception, I planned to plate a piece of the sure-to-be-devoured tart with a few of the ravioli topped with a pecan sauce and a side of fresh green bean gremolata. I killed the green beans – the pan is still soaking – but our vegetable-less meal was still delicious. After facebooking the menu and lamenting the loss of the green beans, the recipes are now in order for a few friends. 

No pictures, but trust me. That picnic tart has been served for friends at home, carried to potlucks, and eaten as leftovers for breakfast. 

French Picnic Tart with New Potatoes, Red Peppers, Sage, and Gruyere
Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven

1 10-inch unbaked tart crust (easy recipe below or buy one!)
1 lb small red potatoes
1-2 T olive oil
1 large onion thinly sliced (2 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 C grated gruyere or emmenthaler cheese (1/4 lb) shredded
2 T minced fresh sage (or 2 tsp dried)
1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place potatoes in saucepan, cover with water, and boil for 10 to 15 minutes until tender but still intact. Drain. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel if desired, and slice thinly. 
Heat oil in a skillet for the onions, add onion and salt, cook on low heat until tender (10-15 minutes)
or continue and caramelize.  Remove from heat, sprinkle with pepper, and set aside.
Assemble the tart:

  • Spread one cup of cheese into bottom of unbaked crust. 
  • Spoon onion over the cheese, and sprinkle with sage.
  • Arrange slices in overlapping concentric circles over cheese.
  • Arrange bell pepper slices over potatoes in ring. 
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese and black pepper to taste.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, on a tray unless you really trust your springform pan, or until crust is golden around edges. Move to lowest rack for last 5 minutes to ensure the bottom is cooked and crisp. Remove tart from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve sliced into large wedges either hot, warm, or at room temperature. 

My additions/changes: 
I don’t use the red pepper, but I have inserted a layer of cooked spinach under the potatoes.
I sometimes splash a bit of balsamic vinegar into the onions.
I use more potatoes and more onions, since this is often the main dish and I want everyone to have one hearty piece on their plate, surrounded by vegetables.
Last night while preparing this I thought about a layer of pureed white beans, which I think I will try next time.

PERFECT 10 TART CRUST: A great 10-inch crust in 10 minutes
Also from Vegetable Heaven
(Can be used for a savory or a sweet tart. Super easy.)

1.5 C unbleached flour
pinch of salt 
1 stick of cold butter
1-3 T cold water

Place flour and salt in food processor, buzz once or twice, slice the butter into the bowl and pulse to crumbs. Continue to pulse as water is added one tablespoon at a time. As soon as the dough adheres when pinched stop adding water, turn it out, and push into a ball.

Roll into an 11 inch circle and lift into a 10 inch pan. Form an even edge all around. Wrap tightly and store in the fridge or freezer until ready to use.

Note: I always double this recipe. I use one in the tart pan for the recipe and flatten the other into a small disc and hold it in the fridge. When the pan is free I roll out the extra disc and place it in the pan, then freeze the whole pan. The frozen dough can be removed and frozen separately. No need to defrost when using. 

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Pecans and Sage

Pecans and sage are a classic combination with butternut squash, for good reason. Look for a quality brand of frozen ravioli, or be my hero and make some from scratch, and top the cooked ravioli with this:

Brown Butter, Pecans, and Sage

3-4 T butter (yes, you can use a lot more butter and get a more “saucey” product, but let’s not!)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 T chopped fresh sage
2-3 T chopped fresh parsley
2 -3 tsp chopped fresh thyme, or less, dried
1/2 C pecans, toasted, chopped coarsely
sea salt

Melt the butter in a small nonstick skillet and add the garlic and herbs. Cook over low heat until the butter begins to brown; remove from heat and stir in pecans. The lower amount of butter will disappear leaving you with a lovely topping to spoon over the ravioli, and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Delicious, and not just on ravioli!

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