Asparagus and Three-Cheese Tart
( SERVES 6 )
Asparagus combines beautifully with cheese. Serve this tart with a crisp pastry crust filled with asparagus tips, ricotta, parmigiano reggiano and feta for a lovely luncheon idea. Perfect with a crisp sauvignon blanc and a green salad.
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|130 g||Butter, ice-cold and diced|
|25 g||Parmigiano cheese, very finely grated|
|350 g||Asparagus spears, cut into 3-4cm lengths|
|200 g||Cheese, fresh white cheese such as labne or ricotta|
|1||Ground nutmeg, small amount|
|1 to taste||Salt & freshly ground pepper|
|25 g||Parmigiano cheese, reggiano, grated|
|150 g||Feta cheese, crumbly|
- Preheat the oven to 180 degC.
- To make the pastry: place the flour, butter and parmigiano reggiano in a food processor and pulse together until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Pour the ice-cold water through the feed tube, with the motor running, until the crumbs moisten and start to draw together (this will take only a few seconds).
- Turn the pastry out onto a clean bench and knead it to ensure it is smooth.
- Roll out in a circle to fit a 24cm loose-bottomed flan tin. Place it in the tin and trim the edges neatly.
- Crush a large piece of baking paper to soften so you can push it right into the corners, and then spread it out across the pastry case.
- Fill with baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes until the pastry is a very light sand colour.
- Leaving the temperature at 180 degC, remove the baked case from the oven. Cool slightly.
- To make the filling: blanch the asparagus in simmering salted water for 2-3 minutes, and immediately plunge into cold water to retain the fresh green colour.
- In a bowl, beat the labne or other fresh white cheese with the eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper until smooth.
- Grate the parmigiano reggiano over the base of the baked pastry case. Crumble half the feta over this, then pour in the egg mixture.
- Lay the asparagus pieces on top of this mixture, and finally top with the remaining feta.
- Return the pie to the heated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the mixture starts to turn golden.
- Allow to stand a few minutes before serving with a fresh green salad.