SPRING!!! SPRING!!! SPRING!!! I thought it would never arrive yet here it is on our doorstep! (Apologies for yelling at you with all those exclamation points but I want to shout it from the rooftops!) The earth is vibrating as if it knows how much the promise of warmer weather means THIS year of all years. This magical, beautiful spring just feels so wonderfully different. Welcome, our friend – you have been missed.
And just in time for spring – a printed version of our Gatherings cookbook has arrived from the printers (that calls for another little , don’t you think?) Many of you have asked for a printed rather than online version. It took a bit to get it ready – but here they are! I was so excited to open the box – made my little heart skip a beat to see them all printed. (We are still offering the pdf version for free – so if online cookbooks are your thing, just drop us a line and we are happy to send it on over to you.) We put this volume together late spring *last* year anticipating being able to bring family and friends back to the table – but the world had other plans for us. So here we are a year later and hoping beyond hope that *soon* we will be gathering together. This collection of recipes are meant to be some of our favorite recipes that we cook when we bring friends and family to the table…so pop on over to our little shop if interested in a printed version!
This asparagus ricotta tart is one of my favorite antipasto recipes to make for company. Store-bought puff pastry makes this super easy and is a blank canvas upon which to create. I love to use asparagus nestled on a bed of ricotta – makes for a beautiful spring-y presentation and super yummy too. A little sprinkle of toasted hazelnuts on top adds a nice little crunch (any favorite nut will do). You can find this recipe in our little cookbook.
Wishing everyone a hopeful spring and brighter tomorrow – we still have a bit of a path to travel but we are hopeful that the world can right itself now that vaccines are rolling out around the world – and on that note – one more heart for sure !
Love you all,
A simple tart made using store-bought puff pastry and fresh spring asparagus nestled on a bed of ricotta – perfect for a simple spring lunch!
- About ¾ pound asparagus, on the thin side
- Kosher salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
- ½ cup whole milk ricotta
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping
- 1 egg, separated
- Zest of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts (or other nut of choice)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Trim the tough ends off the asparagus, making them an equal length of approximately 8 inches. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Have a large bowl of ice water at the ready. Once boiling, add the asparagus and blanch until they are bright green and crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and drop the asparagus in the ice water to stop the cooking. Once cool, drain the asparagus. Pat dry with paper towels and season with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Unroll the puff pastry onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. (This makes it super easy to move the pastry). Roll out the pastry to a 10X16 inch rectangle. Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet. Prick all over with a fork. Bake, checking occasionally, until the pastry is light golden brown and puffed, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Allow to cool slightly. Maintain oven temperature.
Mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, egg yolk, and zest of ½ lemon until smooth. Spread the ricotta mixture over the baked pastry, leaving about a 1-inch border all around. Lay the asparagus on top of the ricotta, alternating directions. Mix the egg white with about a splash of water. Brush the exposed pastry with the egg wash. Drizzle the entire tart with a little extra virgin olive oil. Top with a generous amount of pepper and Parmesan; sprinkle with the toasted nuts.
Return the pastry to the oven. Bake until the asparagus is tender, and the cheeses are melted, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with more Parmesan. Cut into squares to serve.
- Serving Size: 6-8 appetizer portions