Italian Asparagus Pie


This is an Italian recipe for an easy, yet impressive, asparagus tart. It is baked in a pizza pan, so it is a large, flat torta.

For the dough:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the pan
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra if needed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk, plus extra if needed

For the filling:

2 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
3 pounds asparagus, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Make the dough: Combine the flour, salt, milk, and olive oil on a counter. Add a little more milk if the dough is dry, or a little more flour if the dough is sticky. Knead 30 seconds, or until smooth, and wrap the disc in plastic. Let rest at room temperature 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of the salt and the asparagus, and cook 8 minutes, or until soft. Drain and shock in ice water. Drain again and blot dry. Chop finely.

Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over a medium flame. Add the asparagus, 1/2 cup of water, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and saute for 5 minutes, or until the water evaporates. You might need to do 2 batches. Place in a bowl. Cool to room temperature, then fold in the Parmigiano.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a round 16-inch pizza pan with low sides with olive oil.

Divide the dough into 2 uneven portions, one 2/3 and the smaller about 1/3 of the dough. Roll out the larger piece of dough until it is very thin on a lightly floured counter (it should measure about 22 inches in diameter) and line the prepared pan with it, letting excess dough hang over the sides of the pan. Spoon in the cool asparagus filling. Roll out the smaller piece of dough and lay on top of the filling. Fold over the overhang back onto the tart. Use the overhanging dough to create a pretty border around the tart that is pinched to connect the top section.

Bake the tart in the preheated oven until the crust is golden, about 30 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Serves 4 as a main course. and 8 as an appetizer