Asparagus Tart

Asparagus is my favorite spring vegetable! When tossed with ravioli it becomes a lovely light lunch and combined with lemony chickpeas creates a perfect picnic salad. If I’m in the mood for a small bite, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus enjoyed with a refreshing glass of  Prosecco or limonata is a splendid way to take pause and count my blessings.

Torta agli asparagi (asparagus tart) is a forkful of flavor in every bite. Ricotta, Parmesan cheese, lemon and thyme are the luscious ingredients in this savory tart with a flaky buttery crust. For a special occasion, such as Mother’s Day, serve with blueberry scones and mascarpone cream. The addition of Peach Bellini or Sicilian Sunrise  to your menu will certainly transform any get-together into one of celebration!

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cup flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, cold, cut up into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons ice water

Filling

  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 lemon, finely grated zest
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound asparagus
  1. Using a food processor, pulse the butter, flour and salt until it resembles large peas. Add the ice water and pulse until the dough begins to hold together. Remove and knead lightly and then with your hands, form into a ball. Flatten into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.
  2. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough out into a 10-inch circle. Carefully, press the dough onto the bottom and sides of a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using a fork, pierce the bottom and sides of crust (this and the dry beans keeps it from puffing up). Cover with a circle of parchment paper or foil and line the pan with baking weights (I use dry beans). Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 350*oven.
  3. Remove the weights and foil or parchment and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, thyme and zest. In a small bowl, using a fork, beat the eggs with the half and half. Stir into filling mixture and then pour into prepared crust. Cut off the top portion of the asparagus (reserve the rest for another use). Arrange asparagus on top of tart.
  5. Bake in the 350* oven 20-25 minutes until filling is set.

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