Meatless Monday – Spring Vegetable Tart with Asparagus and Artichoke Hearts

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Nothing says spring like artichokes, asparagus and spring peas.  Here they are featured in a creamy puff pastry tart dotted with fresh herbs. Cherry tomatoes add a dash of color and a pop of sweetness. This tart is very pretty and great for parties or special occasions, like Mother’s Day Brunch, perhaps.  I made it for a ladies luncheon and it was a big hit. Best of all, it is deceptively easy, no pre-cooking or extra pans.  Just defrost a sheet of puff pastry, mix ricotta with garlic, feta and basil, and spread it on the pastry. Decorate with raw veggies and pop it in the oven.  Gorgeous and ready in 25 minutes.

Spring is my favorite season.   The hills are vibrant green from winter rains and wildflowers abound. Crocuses have pushed their way out of the damp earth and gorgeous camelias are in bloom.  My favorite spring flower, though, is the California poppy, so cheerful and delicate but hardy and tenacious enough to grow in the most dire of situations. I’m just sorry they don’t last all year long. But I digress.  Let’s go back to our other harbingers of spring, asparagus and artichokes, both of which add not only color but a lovely combination of flavors as well as fiber and loads of important vitamins and minerals.

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Ricotta is certainly not a diet food, as it is fat laden and high in calories, but it does have a surprising number of nutrients to offer as well. Riccotta is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin B-12, riboflavin, phosphorous and zinc.  The fat in ricotta is mostly saturated fat which can reek havoc on cholesterol levels but lower fat versions are available, if that is a concern, but they also offer less protein. You could also try substituting cottage cheese as a lower fat alternative.  However, as a special occasion dish, I would encourage the full fat version.

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TIPS:  I used a combination of ricotta and feta cheeses.  If you are not a fan of feta, substitute goat cheese or another soft cheese that you enjoy.  You can also just add grated hard cheeses like parmesan, asiago and fontina but may not want to add a whole cup.  Taste before adding the eggs to be sure you got the combination right. When spreading the ricotta mixture, make sure you leave a wide border as the cheese has a tendency to expand and you could lose your border. Don’t skip the fresh herbs…

I adapted this recipe from http://www.prouditaliancook.com

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SPRING VEGETABLE TART

This recipe makes one tart about 12″ x 16″,  two smaller round tarts or 6 individual 4×4 squares.

  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 cups ricotta, drained if necessary
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts (frozen or canned in water), defrosted and drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1 Tbsn fresh thyme sprigs
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  • Prepare all herbs and veggies. Preheat oven to   400°F.

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  • Unfold the pastry onto a piece of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll pastry ½ in. bigger on all sides. Slide the pastry and parchment  onto a large baking sheet.

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  • In a medium bowl beat the eggs until combined.  Brush the outer 1 inch edge of the pastry with the egg wash and prick the center with a fork in about a dozen places to prevent the center from rising.

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  • Add the ricotta, garlic, basil and parmesan to the remaining eggs and stir until well mixed together.

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  • Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the pastry leaving a generous one inch border all the way around(ricotta will expand in the oven).

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  • Arrange the veggies evenly into the ricotta mixture, pressingly slightly.

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  • Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan.

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  • Bake in a 400 F. oven until the pastry has puffed and is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes and the ricotta has set.

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  • Top with additional parmesan and fresh thyme, if desired. Let it cool slightly before serving.

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Spring Vegetable Tart

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 20160325_124248

This recipe makes one tart about 12″ x 16″,  two smaller round tarts or 6 individual 4×4 squares.

  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 cups ricotta, drained if necessary
  • 1 cup feta, crumbled
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts (frozen or canned in water), defrosted and drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 1 Tbsn fresh thyme sprigs
Instructions
  1. Prepare all herbs and veggies. Preheat oven to   400°F.
  2. Unfold the pastry onto a piece of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll pastry ½ in. bigger on all sides. Slide the pastry and parchment  onto a large baking sheet.
  3. In a medium bowl beat the eggs until combined.  Brush the outer 1 inch edge of the pastry with the egg wash and prick the center with a fork in about a dozen places to prevent the center from rising..
  4. Add the ricotta, garlic, basil and parmesan to the remaining eggs and stir until well mixed together.
  5. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the pastry leaving a generous one inch border all the way around (ricotta will expand in the oven).
  6. Arrange the veggies evenly into the ricotta mixture, pressingly slightly.
  7. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan.
  8. Bake in a 400 F. oven until the pastry has puffed and is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes and the ricotta has set.
  9. Top with additional parmesan and fresh thyme, if desired.
  10. Let it cool slightly before serving.

4 thoughts on “Meatless Monday – Spring Vegetable Tart with Asparagus and Artichoke Hearts

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