The best part of making a meal is sharing it with family and friends. What's the point of breaking your back over something if no one's there to ooh and ahh right?
In her new book "Delicious Gatherings," food stylist, editor, and cookbook author Tara Teaspoon showed New Day's Suzie Wiley how to put together a showstopping tarte.
Spinach and artichoke tarte soleil
SERVES 8 TO 10 | MAKES 1 TART | HANDS-ON TIME 35 MINUTES | TOTAL TIME 1 HOUR 15 MINUTES
THIS SAVORY TART is a showstopper on the table and yet is incredibly easy to make. My friend Laura showed me how to make this design, and now I’m hooked! The design works for all kinds of fillings.
This particular filling takes a note from one of my favorite dips. I nestle my own veggie, herb, and cheese mixture between two sheets of flaky puff pastry, then twist it into its eye-catching pattern. This pull-apart, sharable dish is ideal as an appetizer, with soup or salad, or alongside your favorite main dish.
- ½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- 2 cups packed (3 ½ ounces) spinach leaves
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- Half a can (14-ounce) artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- All-purpose flour for dusting
- 1 (17.5-ounce) box puff pastry, thawed
- Sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
- Zest from half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon honey
1. For the tart: Heat oven to 375 F with rack in lower third. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.
2. To the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add feta, spinach, scallions, artichokes, and dill. Pulse until very finely chopped, almost smooth.
3. In a small bowl, whisk egg and water to make an egg wash. Set aside.
4. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll one of the sheets of puff pastry into a 12-by-12-inch square. Cut a 12-inch-diameter circle out of the puff pastry using a plate or mixing bowl as a guide. Place the round on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Discard dough scraps.
5. Spread the feta cheese mixture evenly over the round of puff pastry on the baking sheet, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge.
6. Brush some of the egg wash around the edge of the puff pastry. Place the second round of puff pastry on top, gently pressing the edges of the circle to seal.
7. Using the rim of a 3-inch-diameter cup or bowl, press gently in the center of the puff pastry to make an indentation without pressing all the way through the pastry dough. This indentation will guide your cutting. Use a knife to cut strips from the indentation to the outside edge of the circle. (Leave the strips attached to the inner circle, like sunbeams coming out of a sun.) Cut the circle into quarters, then cut each quarter in half to create eighths. Cut each eighth into three pieces to make twenty-four strips total. Then carefully twist each strip of puff pastry twice without breaking the pieces off.
8. Brush entire tart with remaining egg wash. Sprinkle with a few teaspoons of sesame seeds.
9. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Let cool before serving.
10. For topping: Combine parsley, dill, scallions, and lemon zest. When tart is ready to serve, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with herb mixture.
This tart can be made up to 6 hours in advance. Keep loosely covered at room temperature until ready to serve. Puff pastry can be found in your grocery freezer section and shouldn’t be confused for phyllo dough.
We were inspired by that tarte that Tara whipped up, so we decided to flip through her book and try our hand at her quick marinara sauce!
Amity is Italian, so she can cook a gravy all day, but if this sauce is delicious in an hour, she's in! Producer, and fellow Italian, Suzie joined Amity in the kitchen to make the sauce and giant dinner meatballs.
MAKES 2 CUPS | HANDS-ON TIME | 15 MINUTES | TOTAL TIME 40 MINUTES
WHIP UP THIS garlicky, tangy marinara sauce from basic pantry ingredients. I’ve used canned tomatoes because it cuts down on cooking time like crazy! The flavor is already concentrated. A generous amount of olive oil creates a nice silkiness, and adding plenty of garlic and dried or fresh herbs (depending on the season and what you have on hand) is really all you need for a flavorful sauce.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 large cloves garlic, sliced or minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 2 tablespoons chopped oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
2. Add basil, oregano, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes. Stir in parsley just before serving.
3. Sauce can be used immediately or stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 2 months.
NOTE: Double, or even triple, the recipe and store it for later to make Giant Dinner Meatballs (recipe below,) or use it as a pizza sauce, pasta sauce, or topping for bruschetta.
Giant dinner meatballs
MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS, 9 LARGE MEATBALLS | HANDS-ON TIME 35 MINUTES TOTAL TIME 1 HOUR 20 MINUTES, NOT INCLUDING MARINARA PREPARATION
ONE OF MY FAVORITE Italian restaurants in New York serves fist-sized meatballs as an appetizer. They are so hearty and melt-in-your-mouth delicious that they, with the bread basket, usually act as my entire dinner. I’m sharing this idea with you and making it easy with my Quick Marinara (recipe above). Plus, making giant-sized meatballs means less tedious rolling and fussing than with smaller ones, which means less hands-on time in the kitchen.
Serve with warm French bread or salad. Either way, these meatballs make a perfect main dish for friends and family. Mangia!
- 3 cups chopped day-old white or French bread
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef
- ½ pound sweet Italian sausage
- 1 large egg
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 medium carrot, minced
- ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 recipe (2 cups) Quick Marinara
1. Heat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine bread pieces and milk. Stir to coat, then let soak for 5 minutes.
3. Once bread has soaked, add all remaining ingredients except marinara. Mix until well combined, mashing soft bread pieces into the mixture.
4. Form mixture into 9 meatballs (about 2/3-cup mixture each). Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake until browned and firm, 25 to 30 minutes.
5. Transfer cooked meatballs to a 6-quart Dutch oven or stockpot with marinara. Bring to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Serve meatballs with sauce and garnished with extra parsley.
TARA’S TIP: You can use plastic gloves while you mix all the meatball ingredients together to keep your hands clean. If you have a food processor, you can make quick work of chopping the garlic, onion, and carrot. Cut them into pieces and process until they are all very finely chopped.