I had leftover potatoes, and any recipe I’ve ever used that calls for tomato paste only calls for 1 or 2 Tbsp, so I had like 3 half-used cans of it. What could I do other than obviously just add butter and make tarts? Inspired by my uncle’s recipe for Sicilian pie, which is basically just a more (or less) sophisticated pizza where there is no melted cheese, these tarts include fresh oregano and shaved Parmesan which are pressed into the tomato paste before being heated. There are a few reasons for doing it this way. For one thing, it releases the oils from the oregano directly into the tomatoes. Another benefit is that it infuses the tomatoes with saltiness from the cheese without actually adding salt. The most important benefit for this recipe is that it gives the paste some body so that it can be layered with the potatoes. Wrapped all up in a flaky butter pastry and topped with fresh mozzarella, I had essentially no choice but to eat all 4 in one sitting.
Butter Count: 16 Tbsp
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, frozen
Pour a cup of water into a liquid measure. Place it in the refrigerator. Dice the butter into small pieces and place it back in the freezer.
In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the butter is well combined, and in small, irregular pieces - just about 10 short pulses.
Add about half of the water to the food processor and pulse a few times until the water is well distributed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add up to 1/4 cup more water, if needed, and mix the mixture until it is a bunch of small clumps. Bring them all together with your hands into one large ball. Kneed the ball for about 1 minute, then wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for two hours.
2 yellow potatoes
8 Tbsp Tomato Paste
8 loosely packed Tbsp fresh Oregano leaves
8 tsp grated Parmesan
Wash the potatoes and slice them into 1/8-inch slices.
Mix the tomato paste, oregano leaves, and Parmesan in a small bowl, using a fork to press the oregano leaves into the tomato paste against the sides of the bowl.
1 ball fresh Mozzarella
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sprinkle flour all over a rolling pin. Roll the dough out to between ¼-inch and ½-inch on a floured surface.
Use pastry rings (I use these) to cut four circles out of the dough. Place the pastry rings onto the parchment paper and place the dough circles at the bottoms of the rings.
Measure the height of the pastry rings, as well as the circumference. Slice strips of dough which match the dimensions of the pastry ring sides. Line the interiors of the pastry rings with the dough strips. Lightly press the side dough strips into the bottom dough discs.
Line each tart with parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake at 400F about 10 minutes. Remove the tarts and remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Allow to cool slightly. The sides may fold inward slightly – this is actually fine.
Spread about 1 Tbsp of the tomato mixture around the bottom of each tart. Place between 1 and 3 potato slices on top of each tomato mixture.
Repeat the previous step so that the second layer of potatoes reaches the top of each pastry ring. There may be some leftover potato slices.
Place a single disc of fresh Mozzarella onto each tart.
Return the tarts to the oven and bake about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned on top, and the sides (if visible) look crispy.
Remove the tarts from the oven and allow to cool slightly before attempting to remove from the pastry rings. Serve warm or refrigerate and microwave later.