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Holiday Goodies in My New Kitchen, Part II

A versatile eater and cook, Food Sharing Network contributor Rose Ellen Lorber-Termaat shares a recipe for an Italian themed dish featuring asparagus, puff pastry and ricotta cheese.

Growing up in New Jersey, you can’t help but experience excellent Italian cuisine, whether it’s made in your own kitchen, or by family and friends, or even enjoyed in your favorite restaurant.

My neighbors always found it hilarious that I needed to pull out a recipe to make spaghetti sauce, when they were creating their family’s traditional “gravy” every Sunday. My answer to that was: I can make awesome chicken matzoh ball soup without blinking an eye. Bravo to us all!

Here’s another* light summer dish that’s quick and easy and a great party food. It’s so easy it’s embarrassing, and you’ll get rave reviews!

Asparagus Ricotta Tart

The Basics:

1 box frozen puff pastry, thawed (two sheets)

1 lb fresh asparagus spears (at least 2 inches chopped off ends)

2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese

2 eggs beaten (reserve 1 tbsp.)

4 tbs. grated parmesan

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. lemon zest

1 tsp. olive oil

1 bunch fresh mint

Asparagus and Ricotta TartPreheat oven to 425.

Place thawed sheets of puff pastry on nonstick pan oiled or sprayed (parchment paper can be used in place of oil or spray).

A bit of advice: Just lay the sheets on the pan. Don’t roll them out or try to reshape them – they will lose their flakiness when baking if you annoy them too much!

Pierce each puff pastry sheet with a fork in several places.

Pinch edges around each pastry sheet to form a frame and brush edges with the reserved egg.

Mix together the ricotta, eggs, grated parmesan, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Divide mixture in half, and spread on each puff pastry sheet.

Toss asparagus spears in olive oil. Arrange spears in a single layer on top the ricotta mixture.

Bake 20 minutes or until gold brown around the edges.

Cool for 5 minutes. Remove tarts from pan and transfer to platter. Sprinkle tops with torn mint leaves and more grated lemon zest.

Slice each tart into 6 individual pieces.

SERVES 10-12

*Don’t miss Rose Ellen’s recipe for watermelon salad with a Greek twist.

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