I think we all know the cliché that women crave chocolate during a certain week every month, during which they are exceptionally cranky and irrational. Not me. That’s actually the status quo in my life – chocolate-craving, cranky irrationality. There’s a line of a country song that states “She’s ‘I want a piece of chocolate, take me to a movie,’ she’s ‘I can’t find a thing to wear,’ now and then she’s moody” that I swear to God was written about me. Next time you see him, remind Boyfriend how lucky he is. But during that one, magical week, I crave not chocolate, but cheese.
Ahhh cheese. I love cheese. All kinds of cheese, except bleu cheese, but especially melty cheese – like the kind found in baked brie, lasagna, nachos, and pizza that makes everything around it smell like cheese while it’s cooking. The kind that bubbles and oozes up around the knife and out onto the plate the moment you cut into it. The kind that drips and dribbles and makes the tiny strands that render these foods impossible to eat daintily, neatly, or while wearing white.
Are you drooling yet? Because I am.
And when the craving hits, it hits hard. Suddenly I’m on Gourmet.com, typing “cheese” into the recipe search bar and practically salivating at each delectable possibility. The choices are endless, but I can’t make all of them, at least not tonight, so I’m forced to narrow it down to one. And because they have to be narrowed to just one, this one had better be chock effing full of cheese. We’re talking far and away the key ingredient. As in, if you removed it, there would be no recipe.
Ironically, the winning recipe did not have “cheese” anywhere in the name. Instead, it was billed as a “Savory Farro Tart.”
Screw that name. This sucker involved 30 oz (that’s 3 ¼ cups, if you’re counting) of ricotta and 2/3 cup of parmesan. That is a crapload of cheese, and that word failed to make it into the title!? Really, Gourmet? I think your recipe-namer needs to be fired. And replaced with me.
Bulgur and Ricotta Tart
Adapted from Gourmet
30 oz (3 ¼ cups) ricotta (I used part-skim, but the original recipe called for whole milk ricotta, so choose as you and your hips see fit)
2/3 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp butter (plus more for buttering the pan)
1 cup bulgur (Yes, I substituted the ingredient in the title of the original recipe. Sue me. It worked beautifully, but I only did it because I didn’t have farro, which I absolutely love.)
1 whole egg, plus 2 yolks
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 – 2 tbsp bread crumbs
1+ cup water
Several large, fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook bulgur in water for 10 minutes – just until tender. Add more water if necessary, but you don’t want it to be too wet when you add it to the tart. Set aside.
Butter tart pan (bottom and sides) and coat the bottom and sides with breadcrumbs. Pour off the excess crumbs so that you’re left with a fine coating all over the bottom and sides.
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat, and cook garlic for 1 – 2 minutes. Set aside.
Mix ricotta, egg, yolks, parmesan, bulgur, salt, pepper, and basil together in a large bowl (I also threw in a handful of finely chopped baby spinach, but that’s totally optional), then pour evenly into tart pan.
Place tart pan in the middle rack of your oven and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until it stops bubbling and is pale golden (it’s not going to turn brown – don’t wait for that). Once it has set, remove from the oven and cool until it is warm (not hot) – this makes it infinitely easier to cut. I know this because I didn’t wait and cut into it and my piece all but disintegrated before my eyes. But it was still delicious, so really, who cares?