Gail Simmons' Vegetable Crostata
Made from scratch and worth every minute. This savory vegetarian crostata features a butter crust topped with homemade marinara, a handful of sweet red onions, roasted fennel, and pecorino cheese. Hot from the oven, a handful of fresh arugula is the perfect finishing touch for a great Sunday brunch.
3/4 Cup All Purpose White Flour
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
To Taste Salt
1/2 Cup Butter
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 sliced medium red Onion
2 large eggs, divided
3/4 Cup Rao’s Homemade® Marinara Sauce
1/2 bulb sliced Fennel
2 tsp fresh Thyme
To Taste Pepper
1/2 Cup shredded or grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
2 tsp Lemon Zest
2 Cups Arugula
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the all-purpose and whole wheat flours and 1/2 teaspoon salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly and only pea-sized chunks of butter remain. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and lemon juice. Add the sour cream mixture to the flour and pulse until just combined. Pinch a little dough; if it sticks, it’s all good. If not, add ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time, up to 3 teaspoons. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, pat it into a 6-inch disk and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 400F. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat. Add the red onion and a pinch of salt and cook until softened and transparent, about 7 minutes. Scrape the onions into a bowl and set them aside.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a well-floured surface, roll out the chilled dough to a roughly 13-inch round (this doesn’t have to be a perfect circle, the more rustic the better), then transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 teaspoon water; set aside. In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Leaving a 1-inch border, brush a thin layer of the egg white all over the crostata. Spread the marinara sauce in a thin even layer to cover the egg white. Top with an even layer of the fennel and then the cooked onion and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Sprinkle the crostata with the fresh thyme and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Fold the edges of the dough up and over the filling to make a 1-inch round crust (if the dough is sticking to the parchment, refrigerate for 10 minutes, then continue folding). Brush the folded dough with the egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle the filling with pecorino and lemon zest. Continue baking until the crust is golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Top with arugula and a sprinkle more of pecorino. Drizzle with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil just before slicing and serving.