August 20th, 2014

Lemony Zucchini Ricotta Crostata


Every element of this savory summer tart appeals to me.


The crust, made with whole wheat flour and olive oil, is rustic, free-form and forgiving.

Inside is a layer of ricotta, scented with lemon zest, nutmeg and thyme, generously spread across the base.

Coins of zucchini, (that ubiquitous summer garden veggie I am ever seeking another way to cook,) ring the top.

A drizzle of lemon agrumato imbues the squash with piquant citrus oil.

The pastry bakes beautifully, surrounding the creamy filling and vegetables with a rumpled golden crust.

And, whether sliced warm from the oven, or carved cool the next day, out of the fridge, it is delicious.


The recipe comes courtesy of Adri Barr Crocetti, whose Italian-centric blog will captivate you with its authentic preparations and stunning photography. When I first read her post about this crostata back in May, I knew that I would make it.

It was just a matter of time.

All summer, I’ve had most of the necessary ingredients in my pantry, and an abundance of those prolific squashes from my garden. The only thing I lacked was Lemon Agrumato–a special oil from Abruzzo where olives are stoneground with lemon.

Serendipity and luck–a friend gave me this bottle for my birthday.


While it is not a true agrumato–it doesn’t indicate that on the label–it does impart a pleasing citric essence to the otherwise peppery nature of the olive oil.


Adri tucks cubes of pancetta between the zucchini slices, and I can well imagine the luscious sweet-salty bites those bring to the tart.

But, I live with a vegetarian. So I strew Sun Gold cherry tomatoes–halved—over the top.

LEMONY ZUCCHINI RICOTTA CROSTATA adapted from Adri Barr Crocetti


1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup plus 2-3 tablespoons cool water

Place the flours, fine sea salt, baking powder, and nutmeg in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse twice to combine. In a measuring cup combine the olive oil and cool water. Begin to pour the liquid slowly into the processor as you gently pulse then run the machine.Remove the feed tube from the processor, and with the machine running, slowly add all the liquid. Process until the ingredients are well combined, and come together into a mass.Turn the dough out onto the counter, knead and form into a disc shape.Wrap in plastic and allow the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Note: You may make this up ahead of time, refrigerating the plastic-wrapped dough overnight.


15-16 ounces whole milk ricotta, drained for at least 4 hours*
Extra virgin olive oil
2 bunches green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped thyme (or lemon thyme) leaves, plus whole sprigs to garnish
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/16-inch coins
Lemon Agrumato Extra Virgin Olive Oil

* To drain the ricotta: line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl, or set a large sieve over a bowl. Put the ricotta into the sieve, cover and refrigerate to drain for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Pour 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a skillet set over medium heat. Add the sliced green onions and a pinch of fine sea salt. Sauté over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Transfer the onions to a small bowl.

Place the drained ricotta (discarding the separated whey) to a medium bowl. Fold in the chopped thyme, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt, ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and ground nutmeg.


Egg Wash
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

Beat the egg and water together in a small bowl. Set aside until time to brush onto the pastry.



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. If you have a baking stone, place it into the oven on the middle rack.

Dust your counter with flour. Unwrap the dough disc and roll it into a 14″-15″ circle. Slide the rolled out dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Spread the ricotta mixture over the circle of rolled dough, spreading it evenly, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the sautéed green onions over the ricotta. Arrange the sliced zucchini over the ricotta, and top with slices of cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Finish with a drizzle with Lemon Olive Oil.

Fold the border over the zucchini, crimping it to make a circle. Brush the egg wash over the pleated border. (You will not use all of the egg wash.)

Slide the crostata and parchment from the baking sheet onto the preheated baking stone. (Or simply bake on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until the crust is lightly browned and the zucchini is cooked, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack for 15 minutes.

Cut into wedges and serve.


Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Breakfast, Egg/Cheese Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian Dishes

24 Responses to “Lemony Zucchini Ricotta Crostata”
  1. Juliana Says:

    This is such a beautiful crostata Nancy, I like the lemony part of it with the ricotta and all the veggies…beautiful!
    Thanks for the recipe…hope you are having a great week :D

  2. Joyti Says:

    Nancy, your crostata looks incredibly delicious. I love the sound of the olive oil crust. And ricotta, lemon, and zucchini – what a delicious combination.

  3. Renee Says:

    I want to eat this. NOW!

  4. Karen (Back Road Journal) Says:

    I remember Adri’s crostata and yours looks equally as good. I like your added tomatoes…I’ve got lots in my garden.

  5. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Thanks, Juliana, Joyti, Renee, and Karen.
    I have tried olive oil crusts in different ways–one where I “freeze” the olive oil before working it into the crust. This one works so easily without doing that. I think the bit of baking powder helps in the leavening.

  6. Manali @ CookWithManali Says:

    this looks perfect for vegetarians like me! :)

  7. Barbara Greene Says:

    Oh this looks beautifu! Nancy! I have never experienced a crostata. Look forward to trying this with some veggies from our garden…yummy!

  8. goodfoodmatters Says:

    I think that you’ll really like it. The crust is easy to make, and healthier with olive oil and the combination of flours.

  9. Johanne Lamarche Says:

    Did you also drain some of the moisture out of the zucchini? I recently made a zucchini artichoke lasagna and it produced so much excess fluid while cooking! Not pretty, but still good.

  10. Velva Says:

    This makes for a beautiful late summer meal. The idea that the pastry is “free form” and “forgiving” is an added bonus for me.

    Thanks for sharing.


  11. goodfoodmatters Says:

    hi Johanne–
    Because my zucchini were picked small and young, they did not have as much water in them as the larger older ones often do. Also, I slice them so thinly–that the small amount of water seems to evaporate in the cooking. The crostata was not watery.

  12. Teresa, foodonfifth Says:

    This is just beautiful my friend. I wish that I had a slice for lunch today…it would just be the perfect thing as I huddle inside my cool house while the heat rages outside!
    The little squash are always the sweetest and look so beautiful in your crostata. I will look for that olive oil which sounds divine. Fantastic August post Nance.

  13. Sara Says:

    I can’t get over how gorgeous this looks!

  14. Tammy Says:

    Gorgeous. I slowed down our CSA since we were traveling and find myself without zucchini!

  15. Dedy@Dentist Chef Says:

    Lovely dish!
    savoury, citrusy veggies crostata, delicious….
    i really craving over it now!

  16. Mary Says:

    What a beautiful crostata – all the flavors of summer in a delectable crust!

  17. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    lemon and ricotta go so well together. The crust looks out of this world and a perfect healthy dinner!

  18. Stacey Kendrick Says:

    Where can i buy white whole wheat flour? Also, i would like to use part skim ricotta so it is healthier. Will this be ok?

  19. goodfoodmatters Says:

    HI Stacey–King Arthur Flour makes a white whole wheat flour, which I found locally at Harris-Teeter grocery. You can also order it, and any of their other flours, online at
    and, yes, you certainly may use a part skim ricotta. just be sure to drain it, as you would the whole milk ricotta. I hope you’ll like the recipe.

  20. Gerlinde Says:

    What a great recipe using zucchini , it is a meal by itself and looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Dedy@Dentist Chef Says:

    Report: i just made this for thin morning supper, but i using a grilled zucchinni and roasted onion on it
    Cross my finger then!!!

  22. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    Mmm mmm. This looks great! And I wouldn’t mind tasting a version with the pancetta…

  23. Adri Says:

    Oh my, I just saw this post. Mille grazie! I am so pleased you made this one, and how very generous of you to have shared it with your readers. We devoured a number of these over the course of zucchini season, and we never tired of it. Thank you so much for the shout out, and I am just tickled pink. You did a great job with the step by step photo essay. Brava!

  24. goodfoodmatters Says:

    My pleasure, Adri. It’s such a good recipe.

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