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Tomato, Cheddar and Pesto Tart
February 2024
Reading time 1 Minute
Ready-rolled puff pastry is the saviour of impromptu dinner parties: it gives off showstopper vibes without taking too much time. Resist the temptation to pour the tinned tomatoes directly onto the cooked pastry: it's important to cook the tomatoes first to thicken the sauce, otherwise you'll end up with a soggy bottom. Use any pesto you like - most flavours complement tomatoes - but I prefer the classic Genovese basil pesto because, not only does it remind me of holidays in Liguria, the basil goes excellently with a tin of tomatoes.
  • 320g packet ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ red onion or 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 227g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 50g Genovese basil pesto
  • 40g cheddar cheese, grated
  • Handful of basil leaves, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/390F/gas 6.

Unroll the puff pastry sheet and lay it on a non-stick baking tray. Score along each side of the pastry, around three centimetres in from the edge, so you have a scored rectangle just inside the pastry. Prick the inside of the rectangle all over with a fork.

Bake in the hot oven for 10–15 minutes or until light golden brown and puffed up.
While the pastry cooks, heat the oil in a small pan. Add the onion and fry for six to eight minutes or until beginning to brown. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until thickened.

Remove the pastry from the oven and, using a spoon or fork, push the inner rectangle down so that you have a border of puffed-up pastry.

Pour the tomato sauce over the indented rectangle and gently spread it out to the border. Spoon blobs of the pesto all over the sauce and then scatter over the cheddar.

Bake in the hot oven for 10–12 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the pastry is cooked through.

Mix it up
If you’re serving this at a gathering, it’s easy to make a couple of different options. Try an alternative flavour like red onion chutney and goats’ cheese to replace the basil pesto and cheddar.

The Tinned Tomatoes Cookbook: 100 everyday recipes using the most versatile ingredient in your kitchen by Samuel Goldsmith (Murdoch Books, £18.99). Photography by Mowie Kay.

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