Ricotta-tomato pie

Tonight I made ricotta-tomato pie as part of our dinner. This is one of those “gosh, it’s so easy, I almost feel guilty!” recipes. It’s perfect for late spring or summer, when heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil are readily available. And it’s a perfect dish for a family or group vacation at the beach or the mountains, when you want to fix something that everyone will enjoy.

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For this, you’ll need just a handful of ingredients: 2 cups (500 grams) of ricotta cheese, 3 eggs, cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (or a combo of parmesan and Parmegiano-Reggianno); one pastry pie crust (homemade or store-bought); about one tablespoon of chopped basil leaves; (not shown) salt and pepper to taste.

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I happened to find heirloom cherry tomatoes at the store. Here they are, along with some fresh basil leaves from my container garden. Aren’t they beautiful?

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And the eggs are farm-fresh, from a friend who happens to live on a farm in northern Virginia. I love the green eggs, especially. (Makes me think of Dr. Seuss and green eggs & ham!)

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But, back to cooking. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees, Fahrenheit. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl until well-blended, about 70-80 strokes with a whisk.

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Add the ricotta and blend well, then add the parmesan (or combination of parmesan and Parmegiano-Reggiano, half and half), and a dash of salt and/or pepper.

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Pour into the pie shell. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place on top of the cheese-egg mixture. I’m a quilter, so I couldn’t stop myself from arranging the tomato halves in alternating colors.

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Sprinkle with diced basil leaves and a bit of parmesan.

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Place in the oven on the top rack and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling has set. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. We served this tonight with the 2013 Merlot from King Family Vineyards, which was a fabulous wine and great pairing. (This had a light nose with a hint of dark berry and leather, but on the palate a full burst of plummy dark berry, followed by spice and white pepper on the looooong finish. All I can say is if Miles in Sideways had tried this Merlot, he never would have said what he did about Merlots in general!)

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Enjoy, and cheers!

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