Though American fast food chains such as McDonald's and Burger King have taken root in Argentina, most Argentines looking to grab a quick meal order from the neighborhood rotisería. These take-out joints specialize in simple, classic Argentine fare like empanadas, salads, milanesas, and pastas.
While you'd be hard-pressed to find a tarta on the menu at Mickey D's, just about every rotisería offers some version of these savory tarts, with the most popular choices being pascualina, made with swiss chard or spinach; round or globe zucchini; corn, sometimes with the addition of chicken; leeks; ham and cheese; and squash. Like empanadas, tartas are quite versatile, and fillings can be adapted according to what's fresh and in season or what you happen to have on hand. Because really, whenever flaky crust meets flavorful filling, there's bound to be magic.
The flavors of the sage and green onion in this tart complement the butternut squash beautifully, and the texture of the filling is light and creamy. Although I used butternut squash, feel free to substitute another type of winter squash (e.g. acorn squash).
Tarta de zapallo | Roasted Butternut Squash Tart
1 round of pie crust dough [use store-bought or your favorite recipe]
1 medium butternut squash
2 tsp. vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. butter
3 stalks green onion, chopped
1 c. coarsely grated Gruyère cheese
½ c. grated parmesan cheese
2 whole eggs plus 1 yolk
½ c. heavy cream
1 ¼ tsp. chopped fresh sage, plus a few whole leaves for decorating [optional]
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Lightly brush each cut side with oil, and roast the squash on a baking sheet with the cut sides down for 45 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife.
Remove the squash from the oven and scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin. Purée the squash in a food processor for a silky texture, or mash the squash with a potato masher.
Increase the oven temperature to 400ºF. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie dish. Fold any excess dough under itself and crimp the edges decoratively. Prick the dough lightly with a fork all over. Bake the crust until the edges begin to brown, pressing the bottom and sides of the crust occasionally with the back of a fork, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and lightly sauté the green onion. Add the squash purée, and if it seems watery, continue to cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste, and remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, and then add the cheeses, egg, cream, and sage. Mix thoroughly and adjust the seasoning, as needed. Pour the filling into the pre-baked shell, smoothing the top.
Bake the tart in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes or until the filling is set [it should puff slightly and brown lightly on top]. Cover the edges of the crust with foil if they are browning too quickly. Remove from the oven, and allow the tart to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Decorate with some fresh or crispy, fried sage leaves, if desired.
I would have liked to have shown you an individual slice, but there was no holding back the hungry hordes. Trust me, you'll know how they felt if you make this tart.
Recipe updated on November 7, 2012
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