Spinach, Pancetta, and Roasted Garlic Tart


A savory tart is a versatile dish, appropriate at any meal as an appetizer, a side dish, or the focus of a meal. Pancetta is unsmoked Italian bacon, somewhat leaner than its American equivalent (which can be substituted here, if necessary); it can be frozen and used as needed.


  • 2 heads garlic

  • All-purpose flour, for rolling

  • Pate Brisee for Plum Crumb Pie

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 one-pound bunches spinach, stemmed and washed

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 5 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, minced

  • 3 medium yellow onions, finely chopped

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 cups freshly grated (8 ounces) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 4 large eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic in ovenproof dish, and bake until soft, 40 to 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut 1/2 inch off the top, and squeeze out pulp. Set aside.

  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Place pastry in an 11-inch tart pan; press to fit into bottom and up the sides of pan. Trim excess pastry by rolling the rolling pin across the top. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line pastry with parchment paper, pressing into the edges, and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. Place on baking sheet, and bake until light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

  4. Heat 2 tablespoons water in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add spinach, cover, and cook until spinach is barely wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with tongs to a colander, and set aside to cool. When spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely, and set aside.

  5. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add pancetta, and cook until pancetta has rendered much of its fat. Add onions, and cook until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Uncover; raise heat to high. Stirring constantly, cook until mixture turns a rich golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and roasted garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

  6. Turn filling into a bowl, and cool. Blend in cheese and eggs. Pour filling into prepared tart shell. Bake until filling is set and pastry browned, about 45 minutes. Cut into eight wedges, and serve hot.

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