The farmers’ market brings a surplus of bounty come summertime. In fact, some weeks I wonder how I’ll ever use up all I bought. Such was the case last week, and since my cooking week was cut short with a business trip, I went to work emptying the vegetable bin. Tomatoes were quartered, zucchini thickly sliced, eggplant diced and an assortment of onions—red, yellow, cippolini and leeks, went into a big roasting pan. So did the stalks I’d been saving after using the florets from a few heads of broccoli. I drizzled some extra virgin olive, sprinkled salt and freshly ground pepper over the whole medley.
Before I started prepping all those veggies, I preheated the grill. Yes—with record temperatures near 100ºF in New York City, I decided to keep the heat outdoors. Before putting the pan on the grill, I shut off the center burner, leaving on the two outer ones. This is called indirect grilling, and basically converts your grill into a makeshift outdoor oven. Not only were the vegetables imparted with a smoky flavor, they also became meltingly tender in about 20 minutes. The first night I tossed them with spaghetti, toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
And when the thermometer finally dipped below 90º, I decided to make hand pies with the leftovers. The filling possibilities are endless but on this particular day I kept it simple with just chopped roasted vegetables and fresh ricotta cheese. The flaky pastry pockets were so tasty and fun to eat, my 7-year old even requested the leftovers for breakfast the next day.
Roasted Vegetable & Ricotta Cheese Hand Pies
makes 16 to 18
Easy to make and perfect for freezing, these savory pockets can be filled with any combination of leftover vegetables you have on hand. You can even crumble leftover cooked hamburgers and add it to mix.I find the filling doesn't need additional seasoning since the vegetables were roasted with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper, but have included salt and pepper in the ingredients your's needs a boost. Last note—these heat up great in the microwave. In 12 seconds, mine were warm inside ad the crust retained a nice flaky crispness.
1 cup (6.5 ounces) roasted vegetables, chopped
1/2 cup (2/5 ounces) fresh ricotta cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste if needed
1 basic butter crust dough (recipe follows)
1 egg, beaten with a splash of water, optional
Basic Butter Crust
makes two single pie crusts, one free form tart or 16 to 18 hand pies
8 ounces flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
1 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder
4 ounces cold butter
4 to 6 tablespoon ice cold water