Buffalo mozzarella and vegetable tart with pancetta

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like winter was never-ending this year, but spring finally seems to be coming. It’s a great feeling to leave work when it’s still light, to open the windows and enjoy the fresh breeze, and to see new life starting to grow. It couldn’t come soon enough.

Sunshine really changes the way I feel about food. I stop craving so many carb-heavy plates of pasta and bread [though don’t get me wrong, I’m a cake all-year-round kinda lady] and start finding satisfaction in lighter meals. I’m inclined to spend more time in the fruit & veg section at the supermarket, and enjoy gathering fresh ingredients that pack my fridge and fruit bowl full of colour and interest.

This recipe pairs some of my favourites with the ever-versatile and delicious buffalo mozzarella and pancetta. You could easily substitute according to your own preferences, so by all means try it with whatever is left in your fridge, I’m sure the results will be equally as tasty.

The quantities below serve 2, so double up if you’re cooking for the family.

You will need:

  • 250g of chilled ready-made puff pastry [I used Jus-Rol]
  • Yellow pepper
  • Courgette
  • Handful of brown mushrooms
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella
  • 75g pancetta
  • Basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • OPTIONAL: 1 beaten egg

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C and lightly grease a baking tray.
  2. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface, aiming for a rectangle shape of 3-4mm thickness.
  3. Taking each side in turn, roll over the edge of the pastry twice [around 1-2cm each time] and press down firmly with one finger, leaving a finger width between each press to create the crimped crust.
  4. Lift carefully onto the baking tray, and bake for 8 minutes until just starting to brown and crisp up. When done, remove from the oven, prick the centre with a fork to get rid of the air [it will have puffed up slightly] and put aside.
  5. Meanwhile, slice the vegetables and mozzarella.
  6. Melt a knob of butter in a pan, add the pancetta, pepper, mushrooms and tomatoes. Pan fry until the meat is cooked and the veg slightly softened [about 5 minutes].
  7. Remove from the heat, stir in the spinach, then sieve to get rid of any liquid.
  8. Arrange the vegetables and mozzarella on the pastry, add thin slivers of courgette, and sprinkle with generous amounts of black pepper and basil, plus a little salt.
  9. Brush the crust with beaten egg [optional] then bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Serve with sweet potato fries, salad and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

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What are your favourite springtime recipes?

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