Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tomato Pie

The Pit likes to make fun of me for adding tomatoes to practically every dish we eat, so it should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that when I saw this recipe for something called Tomato Pie, it was on our table almost immediately.

It was easy to make, as delicious as it looks, and The Pit and I each had half for dinner. I made it almost exactly as instructed, but I can think of a few changes I'd like to try next time.

What you'll need for 1 pie (2 servings if you're starving or that's all you have for dinner, or more like 4 servings if you have side dishes):
  • 1 frozen pie shell (I used a cheap Richfood Deep Dish Pie Shell, and it was amazingly good)
  • 1 red or yellow onion (or a mix of the two types), sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 small tomatoes (or 3 bigger ones)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sliced basil leaves (about 6-8 leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

1) I caramelized the onions in this recipe, and I think that made a big difference in the taste. I happened to have half a red and half a yellow onion on hand, so that's what I used. To caramelize: slice the onions, heat up some olive oil in a medium skillet, and dump the onions in on a low heat. Basically let them sit there and stir occasionally while you assemble the rest of the pie ingredients, adding a sprinkling of salt and the sliced garlic after about 10 minutes. If you are a super efficient pie assembler, start the onions on a higher heat for a couple minutes, then lower. Don't freak out if it looks like there is an awful lot of onion to start with, they cook down quite a bit:

2) Preheat the oven to 350 F. Take your frozen pie shell out of the freezer, and note that it probably came in a pack of two. Separate out one shell (this might require leaving it on the counter for a couple minutes to defrost first), poke some holes in it with a fork, and then stick it in the oven for 15 minutes.

3) De-juice the tomatoes. You want the tomatoes as dry as possible, so that the crust of the pie doesn't get too soggy. I quartered the tomatoes and drained the inside juice and seeds into a small bowl. Because I love tomatoes so, I set the insides aside for a salad later. I wiped the now-dejuiced tomato quarters with paper towels, and diced them into another bowl. If you aren't sick of drying tomatoes at this point, you can pat them dry with more paper towels. I decided this is as dry as they were getting, and moved on.

4) Mix together the cheeses, mayo, and hot sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. You will have a sort of gooey ball of cheese at this point.

5) Chiffonade the basil.

6) By this time the pie crust will probably be about done pre-baking. Take it out of the oven, and assemble the pie. The original instructions say to first add the onions, then the tomatoes, then the basil, and finally the cheese mixture, like so:

These are the steps I followed when I made the pie, but as we were eating, The Pit and I both decided a little cheese mixed into the other layers would have been a good idea. I think you can put some between the onions and tomatoes, or mix some in with the tomatoes in a bowl, and either would help the pie be more cohesive. Either way, make sure you still have some to go on top.

7) Bake the pie for 40-45 minutes, until the cheese on top is golden brown and bubbly.

A couple notes:

I made the pie with the mozzarella-asiago-parmesan combo because those are the cheeses I always have on hand. I think this would also work with a variety of other combinations, as long as you use at least one flavorful and one mild cheese. Elise @ Simply Recipes suggests a Sharp Cheddar/Monterey Jack combo as a possible alternative.

Also, if you look closely at the picture, you can see that I put the foil-covered pie crust in a pie dish for baking. I'm not sure that it was necessary, but it made taking the pie out of the oven easier. If you don't have a pie dish, I would stick the pie on a cookie sheet.

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