It happens every year.

We’re swimming in summer squash, wondering how we’ll ever use it all. Then suddenly …

zucchini wilt

… it’s gone.

Now I’m staring wistfully at the two zucchini left on my counter. How can I make the most of them? Can I stretch them to last two, three, maybe four dinners? Did I appreciate them enough during their bounty?

Or did I take them for granted? Treat them a little shabbily?

It’s kind of a metaphor for life, these two squashes. How many times am I knee-deep in a situation or life stage, anticipating nothing more than its passing, only to wish I’d enjoyed it more once it ends? I never thought my kids would advance past the toddler years. Now I know how sacred that time is — and how quickly it passes. And that huge project at work that seemed all-consuming? The one I couldn’t wait to finish?

In hindsight, it was awfully fulfilling.

So these last two zucchini are getting extra love. No pureeing into a soup. No grating into a cake or a loaf of bread. These zucchinis will get pride of place atop a cheese- and herb-laden tart. They’ll be dinner’s main event. The star of our supper. Squash that we’ll remember.

Until they invade the garden next year.

zucchini tart

Zucchini, Ricotta & Goat Cheese Tart

I love the look of this tart: Thanks to a technique from Ina Garten, the edges puff dramatically, forming a lovely receptacle for the filling.

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 7 ounces whole-milk ricotta, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup minced herbs (I used basil, tarragon, parsley and chives)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 to 2 zucchinis, sliced into 1/8-inch disks
  • 2 ounces goat cheese

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the puff pastry sheet on the parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut a second square into the pastry dough about 1/4-inch away from its outer edge, being careful not to cut all the way through. You’re scoring the dough, creating a square within a square.

Using the tines of a fork, pierce the interior of the dough all over. Do not pierce the 1/4-inch edge you’ve created.

Set the baking sheet aside.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, herbs and garlic. Spread it over the prepared puff pastry, being careful not to get any on the outer edge.

Lay your zucchini on top of the ricotta. Drizzle it with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Crumble the goat cheese over the top of the zucchini.

Bake the tart for 25 minutes. Check to be sure the edges are browned and the bottom is crisp. (You may need an additional five minutes of baking time.) Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before slicing.