For the crust:
- 1 stick, 8 TBLS, 4 oz., cold unsalted butter, cut into slices
- fat slice of vegetable shortening, cubed – about one TBLS
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- pinch of salt
- 3 – 5 TBLS cold water
For the filling:
- Good glug of olive oil, 2 -3 TBLS
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 bulb of fennel, rinsed, quartered, and thinly sliced
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 – 4 cloves of garlic if you have it – I didn’t
- 1 zucchini
- 1 summer squash
- 1 patty pan
- 3 – 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- small bunch fresh basil
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 4 – 6 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
To make the crust, measure the flour and cornmeal into a mixing bowl – like the bowl of your stand mixer, if you have one – or the bowl of a food processor. Add the salt, then add the butter and shortening, and cut the fats into the flour, using the paddle attachment, a pastry blender, 2 knives, your fingers, or the food processor, until you have a crumbly-looking mixture. With the mixer running, or stirring with a fork, drizzle in the water, a tablespoon at a time. If you’re using the food processor, add the water and then pulse. Stop mixing when you have a collection of big lumps – stopping before it all adheres into one big ball. Turn the pastry out onto a floured surface, and knead it together into a ball. Flatten the pastry into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper, and chill for 30 minutes or up to as long as several days. To store the pastry for longer, freeze it.
To make the ratatouille, pour the olive oil into a wide deep skillet, and warm over medium-high heat. Add the onions, stir to coat with oil, and cook for a few minutes. Add the fennel and salt & pepper to taste. Add the garlic if using and the squashes, stir, and continue to cook. Add the tomatoes, stir again, cover and reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Take the lid off, taste the mixture, and see if it needs more salt, pepper, or even a pinch of sugar. Chop the basil, add it, and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes until the juices are evaporated. Cool.
To assemble, roll out the crust and either fit it into a parchment-lined 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish, metal preferred, but glass will also work, or parchment-lined large rimmed baking sheet (like a half sheet pan, 11 x 22). Cover the bottom of the crust with the Parmesan in an even layer. Spread on the ratatouille (in a roughly 10 x 15 rectangle if using the baking sheet). Crumble the goat cheese on top. Flop the edges of the crust over, to seal in the filling, leaving an opening in the middle.
Bake at 375° on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 – 30 minutes, until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted. Enjoy hot or at room temperature.