Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.
Most rosés, boasting reasonable price tags and the ability to go with many types of food, make a great value choice for a casual dinner at any time of year. But rosé is an especially good idea come the lazy, light nights of high summer.
So when I was thinking about making a savory ricotta tart for a set-it-and-forget-it warm-weather dinner, I picked up a bottle from the pink section of my local store.
One of the benefits of choosing rosé as a dinner wine is that it allows you to experiment with food pairings that tend to trip up other wines. Spicy food? Salty snacks? Assertive vegetables? Rosé, rosé, rosé.
Fennel, with its blaring core of anise, can be a challenging vegetable for wine matching, especially when served raw. But this tart provides a good opportunity to give it a try. Rosé’s forgiving nature helps, but so do a few cooking tricks that build the bridge between food and wine.
Roasting is a great way to make fennel more wine-friendly, as the caramelized flavor tamps down some of the vegetable’s more assertive character. Another good move is to pad the dish with other complementary flavors, turning the fennel from the star ingredient into a supporting act.
Against plain raw fennel, the Southern Rhône wine I bought developed a faintly bitter finish. When charred fennel was surrounded by creamy ricotta and buttery pastry crust, however, the wine perked up again, providing a crisp foil to the rich outer layer and filling. Adding a few strips of prosciutto underneath the fennel also helped warm the dish, providing a focal match for the wine's berry, cherry and stony flavors.
Pair with a rosé, such as La Vieille Ferme Ventoux Rosé (87 points, $9)
Total time: 30 minutes
Approximate food cost: $22
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a thin, rectangular shape and place on a greased baking sheet.
2. Mix the ricotta with the olive oil, garlic and salt to taste, then spread evenly over the puff pastry, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Drape the prosciutto slices over the ricotta. In a small bowl, toss the fennel slices with olive oil to coat, and season with salt. Add the fennel slices evenly to the tart. Baste the uncovered edges of the pastry with the beaten egg, then place in the oven and bake until the crust has browned and the fennel has roasted, around 20 minutes. Serve immediately while hot, or the tart can sit for up to 2 hours and be served lukewarm. Serves 4.