Eggplant Lasagna Tart with Parmesan-Basil Crust

eggplant-lasagna-tart-main

There seemed to be a perfect storm of savory Italian tart recipes that landed in my inbox within the last month. I first saw a Zucchini Lasagna Tart and then a Fresh Tomato Tart not too long after. I saved both and kept looking at them again and again. I will be the first to admit that I have a problem when it comes to recipes. I save what seems to be countless recipes on my computer between my email inbox, Google Reader and bookmarks. Then there is the binder of recipes that have been clipped out of magazines and old ones of my mom’s and grandma’s that I want to try. And don’t even get me started on the 30+ cookbooks I own that don’t get near the attention they deserve. With all of these recipe repositories, it’s truly something special when I run across a recipe that sticks like glue in my head; when I find myself thinking about it over and over, plotting when the first chance might be to make it. It happened most recently with the Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls and Better-than-Brownies Chocolate Cookies I made, and it happened with these tarts.

eggplant-lasagna-slice

I loved the idea of a lasagna-inspired tart and I was immediately smitten with the notion of a basil and garlic crust. So, I put on my mad scientist hat and went to work on what ultimately became this eggplant lasagna tart nestled into a Parmesan, basil and garlic crust. It is every bit as good as it sounds. Perhaps even more so.

As you can see, this is a very rustic dish – hearty and full of flavor with cheeses and sauce oozing out with every cut of the fork. You should think of this tart as a blank canvas on which to paint with your favorite flavors. Toss your favorite herbs into the crust. Use a different cheese. Pile on your favorite vegetables. Not into eggplant? Try zucchini, yellow squash, or mushrooms. Use your mama’s sauce recipe that dates back to the old country. Make this tart your own, and play around with different variations. They are truly endless, and I look forward to making this again and again.

What would your picture-perfect lasagna tart include?

eggplant-lasagna-tart-whole

I am entering this tart into Bake at 350′s Flavor of the Month event for July: PIE! The lovely Bridget said that tarts were allowed too! Head on over to check out the event, lust after all of the pies, and find out next month’s theme.

Bake at 350

If you like this, you might enjoy these other savory Italian dishes:
Italian Supreme Calzones
Fettuccine Alfredo with Homemade Pasta
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Homemade Gnocchi

Eggplant Lasagna Tart with Parmesan-Basil Crust

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
1/3 cup basil leaves
1 clove garlic
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and well chilled
2-3 T. ice water

For the Tart:
½ eggplant, sliced in half lengthwise and sliced as thinly as possible into half moons
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups ricotta cheese
Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

For the Tomato Sauce:
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pinch of salt
14-oz. can crushed tomatoes

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Prep the eggplant. To avoid a soggy crust, the moisture needs to be drawn out of the eggplant before baking. Toss the sliced eggplant with 1 teaspoon of salt. Transfer to a colander and let drain while you make the tart crust and tomato sauce.

3. To make the tart shell, place the basil and garlic in a food process and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely chopped. Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse to combine. Add the flour, salt and butter and pulse quickly about 25 times. Blend in the 2 T. of ice water in a few additional pulses. The dough should stick together when you pinch it between two fingers. Pour the dough into the tart pan. Working quickly, press the dough uniformly into the pan by pressing across the bottom and working towards the sides and up to form a rim. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.

4. Take the tart out of the refrigerator and poke it a few times with a fork. Cover the tart with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Place on a baking sheet and slide tart onto the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, pull the shell out of the oven, and remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Place the uncovered tart back into the oven, weight-free, for another 5-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with a little shredded Parmesan. Transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature.

5. In the meantime, prepare the tomato sauce. Stir the garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes and salt together in a small, cold saucepan. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook until the garlic starts to sizzle just a bit. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer, cook the sauce down a bit for 10 minutes or so, and then remove from heat.

6. If the eggplant still appears wet, press it into some paper towels to remove any remaining moisture.

7. To assemble the tart, use a spatula to spread half of the ricotta cheese across the base of the tart shell. Spoon about half of the sauce over the ricotta and arrange half of the eggplant in a single layer on top of the sauce. Spread the remainder of the ricotta over the eggplant, making sure that it reaches the edges of the tart. Arrange another layer of eggplant and finish with the remaining sauce. Top with slices of fresh mozzarella across the top.

8. Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Slice wedges with a serrated knife.

(Tart adapted from 101 Cookbooks; Crust adapted from combination of 101 Cookbooks and Ezra Pound Cake)

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41 Responses to “Eggplant Lasagna Tart with Parmesan-Basil Crust”

  1. Shananigans on July 28, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Hi Michelle,

    I’m definitely looking forward to making your semifreddo although it almost looks too pretty to eat! I’ve enjoyed checking out many of your mouthwatering recipes and look forward to sampling them in the future!

    Reply

  2. Mathilde's Cuisine on July 28, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Wow, looks very good.. I like the Parmesan Basil crust, great idea!

    Reply

  3. shelly (cookies and cups) on July 28, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Wow! That looks delicious! Kinda like a rollatini in a delicious crust. Very nice!

    Reply

  4. Mima on July 28, 2009 at 9:53 am

    This tart looks so delicious. I bet it taste better than pizza.
    I’ve just nominated you with a “Kreativ Award” please check it out at my blog…thank you! :)

    Reply

  5. Michele on July 28, 2009 at 10:02 am

    This looks fantastic! I guess you know by now that I’m not a baker but reading the directions for the crust it seems that I may be able to handle this. I have some fontina and ementhaler cheese i need to use up. Do you think I can make some sort of tart with that? email me if you can!

    Reply

  6. stephchows on July 28, 2009 at 10:51 am

    I can 100% relate with the binders of clippings, shelves of cook books, and google notebook overflowing… MAN! My perfect tart would involve sausage, green peppers, and caramelized onions! yum!

    Reply

  7. Cookin' Canuck on July 28, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    You could have given all of the competitors a run for their money in this month’s Foodie Fight (one of the required ingredients was eggplant). This looks incredible! Parmesan crust – drooling.

    Reply

  8. sherri on July 28, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    This is beautiful! The crust sounds amazing1

    Reply

  9. Jessie on July 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    that is one delicious looking tart! My ideal tart would be something on the sweet side that consist of chocolate or fruits :)

    Reply

  10. Trent on July 28, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Will have to use the fresh basil from my garden and give this a try.

    I agree, keeping track of recipes if difficult. I’ve tried all kinds of organization solutions, both hard-copy and online. Still searching…

    Many thanks for the great article.

    Reply

  11. Katrina on July 28, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Because lasagna needed a crust! ;) Yum!

    Reply

  12. Angela@spinachtiger on July 28, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    This looks incredible. I love savory tarts.

    Reply

  13. jillian on July 29, 2009 at 12:19 am

    This tart sounds so delicious! I have similar issues with recipe collecting.

    Reply

  14. Sara on July 29, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    That crust sounds awesome. I’m making this, but I’m going to use that crust for so many things!

    Reply

  15. Lauryn on July 30, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    OMG, I want to make this ASAP!!! This looks absolutely incredible!

    Reply

  16. Cindy on July 31, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Love this, going to bookmark it to try at a later date. Looks like a fall dish!

    Reply

  17. Heidi on July 31, 2009 at 8:08 am

    OMG!! That looks soooooo good!

    Reply

  18. bridget {bake at 350} on July 31, 2009 at 8:32 am

    THAT looks beautiful!

    Reply

  19. Meghan on July 31, 2009 at 8:45 am

    This looks completely amazing! Love the parmesan-basil crust! I’d love to try this with zucchini as well. Wonderful recipe idea!

    Reply

  20. Tracy on July 31, 2009 at 9:28 am

    That looks amazing! I am definitely going to have to give this a try.

    Reply

  21. Jade on July 31, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    This looks wonderful. I have been looking for a way to try eggplant and I am definitely going to give this one a try.

    Reply

  22. Mai on August 1, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    I never made a savory tart, so I took this recipe as a challenge. It was definitely delicious. I loved the texture of the crust. It was buttery and crispy compared to the inside contents. I loved that each component could hold it’s on. I like Parmesan but sometimes it can bear a slightly sharp taste. I would try to use less, maybe I can substitute a cup of flour for a cup of Parmesan? How were you able to get the tart out in one piece? Also, how did you apply the ricotta cheese in the second layer? I dolloped it in on and patted with my fingers so I wouldn’t smear the layers underneath. I will definitely add this recipe to my recipe binder : )

    Reply

  23. Nutmeg Nanny on August 2, 2009 at 9:45 am

    This tart looks amazing! I love that you went the savory route:)

    Reply

  24. Michelle on August 2, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Hi Mai,

    So happy to hear that you enjoyed this tart! To answer your questions:

    - Yes, you could substitute a cup of flour for a cup of Parmesan

    - My tart pan has a removable bottom, so to unmold it I put a big can (like 28oz can of tomatoes or something) on the counter, set the tart pan centered on top, and then let the sides slide off, if that makes sense.

    - For each layer of the ricotta, I dropped smaller spoonfuls across tart (so I wouldn’t have to spread as much as far) and used an offset spatula to lightly spread the ricotta evenly across the tart.

    Reply

  25. Ameya on June 27, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    This is such a delicious and versatile recipe. I just made my own version of this using your crust and my own spinach filling with bechamel and pesto sauces. It came out so tasty! Feel free to check out my post on my blog! Thanks again for a great recipe :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 29th, 2010 at 10:49 pm

      Ameya – That sounds like such a delicious adaptation! Yum!

      Reply

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  27. Marcy@JustCrumbs on November 3, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Thank you for the inspiration. I was looking for a way to use my eggplant in the fridge.

    Reply

  28. Kristin on April 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    I don’t own a tart pan, can I just use a 9 inch deep dish pie plate?

    Thanks,
    Kristin

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 7th, 2011 at 8:18 pm

      Hi Kristin, Yes you could use a deep dish pie plate. Enjoy!

      Reply

  29. Kristin on April 8, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Hi again,

    Thank you for your quick reply! I was in Bed, Bath, & Beyond this morning and just happened to pass right by the tart pans. Can you tell me what size you used for this recipe? I might just go and buy one, it wouldn’t be the first time I came across a recipe that called for it so…might as well!

    Thanks, enjoy your weekend! I know I will – I am making your Lemon-Limoncello cupcakes tomorrow!

    Kristin

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 8th, 2011 at 11:09 am

      Hi Kristin, It’s a 9-inch tart pan. I think a tart pan is a great kitchen investment! Have fun! :)

      Reply

      • Kristin on April 8th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

        Thanks again :)

        Reply

  30. Priyanka on July 25, 2011 at 8:44 am

    hey..can’t wait to try this out over the weekend. One question: if I’m using fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones, should I be doing anything differently?
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Michelle on July 25th, 2011 at 12:39 pm

      Nope, you can proceed as normal with the recipe. Enjoy!

      Reply

  31. Sarah on December 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    These are my absolute favorite tarts! I am not really big into sweets… I know… but every afternoon while everyone sat down to something sweet, I had this yummy, savory mini-tart! TO DIE FOR! There is nothing better than mozarella, eggplant, and sauce…. Thank goodness I came back to America or I would be three-feet wide!

    Reply

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  33. Ken G. on February 8, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Made this tonight. Absolutely delicious! Don’t own a large tart pan, so made 6 small. You consistently have the recipes I choose to make and they always pay off. Thank you so much.

    Reply

  34. Jesse on November 7, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Hi Michelle

    This looks amazing, and looks like a great vegetarian dish to serve for a dinner party. Can you please tell me if you peel your eggplant? Also, how thick should the slices be? Can I bake the crust, as in step #4 assemble and refrigerate over night and then pop in the the oven 40min before i’m ready to serve the next day?

    Thanks a lot!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 7th, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Jesse, I did peel the eggplant and cut them around 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick. Yes, you could definitely bake the crust ahead of time. Enjoy!

      Reply

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