This beautiful tomato tart (torta di pomodoro) is from Tuscany and is really quite similar to a quiche. It is lighter and brighter and doesn’t contain any cream. Serve it for a special first course or as a main course with a salad. It is also a great vegetarian main course dish.
It takes a little time to make this tart from scratch but it can be done in stages and is well worth the trouble. The tomato sauce for the filling (sugo di pomodoro) and the blind-baked pastry case can be done ahead. I generally use tinned tomatoes because it’s easier, but you can use peeled and seeded fresh ones instead.
The torta di pomodoro is inspired by and based on a recipe from Italian food writer Giuliano Bugialli. I have baked this tart many times over the years and this is how I make it today. I think the tasty tomato tart goes very well with my fennel and rocket salad with pine nuts.
Photography by Andrew Taylor
- 1 quantity of tomato sauce for filling (sugo di pomodoro) (recipe below)
- 1 x 24cm blind-baked tart crust (recipe below)
- 3 large free-range eggs sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 50g (1/2 cup) grated parmesan cheese
- 2-3 extra tomatoes for decoration (optional)
- 6 sprigs of basil for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 180C regular or 160C fan.
- Break the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly with the seasoning.
- Mix in the tomato sauce and parmesan and pour the mixture into the pre-baked crust. If you like you can add a decorative touch to the tart with tomato slices before baking. To do this cut the extra tomatoes very thinly, remove the seeds and lay the slices on top of the filling.
- Bake the tart for about 30 minutes or until set and tinged with brown. Rest on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the tin. Serve warm, cut into wedges with a sprig of basil as garnish.
Tomato sauce for filling (Sugo di pomodoro)
- 2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small red or brown onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 1 medium stalk of celery, sliced
- A few sprigs of parsley and basil, chopped
- Sea salt, sugar and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 x 400g cans tomatoes, drained or 750g ripe tomatoes peeled and seeded
- Roughly chop the tomatoes. Heat the oil in a saucepan with the onion, carrot, celery and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes and after five minutes stir in the garlic, parsley and basil.
- Then add the tomatoes, pinch of sugar and grinding of pepper. Simmer partly covered, stirring from time to time until the sauce is very thick, about 45 minutes. Fresh tomatoes may take a little longer. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Puree in a food processor or pass through a food mill. You should end up with about two cups of sauce. Cook down further if you have much more than this.
- 225g plain flour
- Grated nutmeg
- Sea salt
- 110g cold butter
- 3-4 tbsp iced water
- You need a 24cm tart tin with removable base or a pie dish for cooking the crust.
- Place the flour, nutmeg and salt in a food processor and add the cold butter cut into cubes. Process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor running, pour in enough iced water through the shoot to bring the pastry together into a ball. Wrap pastry in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. The pastry can be made by the traditional method in a bowl and mixed with the fingertips.
- Sprinkle the work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll the pastry out to about 3mm thick and a little larger than the tart tin or pie dish. Loosely roll the pastry around the rolling pin and carefully unroll over the tin or pie dish. Press it into the corners with your fingers. Trim excess pastry away by rolling the pin over the edge of tin or cut off with a knife. Prick holes in the base with a fork.
- To blind-bake, line the pastry case with foil and fill with dried beans. This technique will stop the pastry puffing up and ensure a crisp base. Chill for at least 15 minutes if you can or freeze until needed.
- Heat the oven to 180C regular or 160C fan. Bake the chilled or frozen pastry shell for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and beans and bake for another five minutes.