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Farmgirl Susan's Savory Tomato and Basil Pesto Pie

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Rate this recipe 4.4/5 (7 Votes)

Ingredients

  • For the pesto:
  • Makes about 1 1/2 cups (you'll need 1 cup for this recipe)
  • 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) roasted & salted whole almonds
  • 3 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 ounces fresh basil leaves (about 4 cups packed)
  • 1 ounce (about 1/2 cup) finely grated Pecorino Romano (or other hard cheese)
  • 10 ounces fresh tomatoes (about 3 smallish) any kind, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more if desired
  • For the crust:
  • 2 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it's fresh!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/ 4 ounces) cold organic butter
  • 1 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) finely grated Pecorino Romano (or other hard cheese, such as Parmesan)
  • 3/4 cup organic milk
  • Assembling the pie:
  • 1 cup pesto, divided
  • 2 1/2 pounds of the best plum tomatoes you can find, sliced lengthwise into 4 or 5 slices each San Marzanos & Golden Romas add extra color as well as more flavor)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, grated or thinly sliced (I use slices from a fresh log)
  • 1/2 cup (about 1 1/4 ounces) finely grated Pecorino Romano (or other hard cheese such as Parmesan)
  • Optional: About 12 ounces crumbled and cooked Italian sausage

Details

Adapted from farmgirlfare.com

Preparation

Step 1

Pesto

In the bowl of a food processor,use the S-blade to whiz the almonds and garlic until finely chopped.

Add the basil, cheese, tomatoes, and salt, and process until thoroughly combined and the consistency you like.

With the motor running running, slowly drizzle the olive oil through the chute. Salt to taste and add more olive oil if desired. Store your pesto in the refrigerator for several days or freeze it. A light coating of olive oil over the top of the pesto will help keep it from discoloring.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in the butter using a pastry blender, fork, or your fingers until the largest pieces are pea-size. Stir in the Pecorino Romano.

Pour in the milk and use a fork to gently form a soft dough. Do not overmix. Divide the dough in two pieces, making one slightly larger than the other.

On a generously floured surface, use a rolling pin to gently roll out the larger piece of dough into a circle about 12 inches across, rolling from the center outward. Sprinkle dough with flour if sticky.

Gently fold the dough in half and transfer into a 9-inch pie pan. If the dough tears, simply press it back together with your fingers.

Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a slightly smaller circle and set aside (or wait until you have the filling in the pan and then roll it out).


Heat the oven to 375°.

Crust
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in the butter using a pastry blender, fork, or your fingers until the largest pieces are pea-size. Stir in the Pecorino Romano.

Pour in the milk and use a fork to gently form a soft dough. Do not overmix. Divide the dough in two pieces, making one slightly larger than the other.

On a generously floured surface, use a rolling pin to gently roll out the larger piece of dough into a circle about 12 inches across, rolling from the center outward. Sprinkle dough with flour if sticky.

Gently fold the dough in half and transfer into a 9-inch pie pan. If the dough tears, simply press it back together with your fingers.

Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a slightly smaller circle and set aside (or wait until you have the filling in the pan and then roll it out).
Assembly of the Pie
Using a spoon, spread 1/2 cup of pesto over the bottom layer of dough in the pie pan. Layer about half of the tomatoes over the pesto. (If you're adding the Italian sausage, layer half of it over the tomatoes here.) Cover the tomatoes with about 2/3 of the mozzarella.

Layer on the rest of the tomatoes (you may not need them all to fill the pan). Carefully spread the remaining 1/2 cup of pesto over the tomatoes. (Add the other half of the Italian sausage here.) Cover with the remaining mozzarella and the Pecorino Romano.

Roll out the second piece of dough if you haven't already, and carefully place it over the pie. Fold the edge of the bottom piece over the top piece and press together to seal.

Use your fingers to make a crimped design around the edge. If any dough falls apart, simply press it back together with your fingers. Don't worry if it isn't perfect. The handmade look has much more charm.

Cut four slits in the top of the pie for steam to escape. Bake at 375° in the center of the oven until the crust is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cover the edge with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.

Let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. Crust edges may be sampled much sooner. (As with nearly any fruit pie, if you cut into it while it's still warm, some juice will seep out. If you plan to store any leftover pie right in the pan, simply drain off the juice so the bottom crust doesn't become soggy.) Or cool pie completely, cover, and refrigerate.

You can also freeze this pie. It can be wrapped a hunk in foil then put it in a zipper freezer bag and tossed it into the freezer. The pie can be defrosted the whole piece overnight in the refrigerator, then cut it in half and reheated the slices in a little toaster convection oven for 15-20 minutes at 325°, each on a fresh piece of foil and covered lightly with the foil so the tops wouldn't brown too quickly.


Hint: If you plan to freeze the entire pie and don't want to freeze it in the pan, use a disposable pie pan or line your pan with a piece of heavy duty foil so you can simply lift the whole cooled pie out of the pan.



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