^that’s what’s going through my mind.
Lemme just sum up what’s happening in life right now:
14 weddings & events in 13 days (holy crap)
Scott is home for good (finally)
Moving in with Scott (yay!)
Planning birthday parties (hiiiii 25)
‘scuse the awkward hand. Life has been crazy and tonight (Monday June 13th) was my second time cooking dinner this month. I kid you not. I do get a break this weekend from work but with it being summer that only means one thing – it’s birthday season. My brother, myself, my father, and my mom are all summer babies and with Travis recently turning 21 and I’m about to turn 25, mom is feeling festive.
We’re entertaining this weekend and you know I’m all about sharing the recipes when mom & I entertain. My part of the party is themed after wine & charcuterie and I’m working up things like a BANGIN’ meat & cheese spread with garlic confit, olive tapenade, and fig jam (stay tuned). I’m adding something with protein, probably a marinara meatball, and wanted something with asparagus.
I picked up some yummy cheese, asparagus, and a box of puff pastry to test things out. Initially I thought to wrap the asparagus in cheesy puff pastry bundles, sounds pretty freakin’ good right?
I blanched the asparagus (look at those bright green little thangs) then remembered the last time I tried wrapping things in puff pastry which ended like something you’d see on those Pinterest-fail blogs. Yeaahhhhh let’s not. I played it safe and made a creamy cheesy to-die-for bechamel sauce and turned the puff pastry into a tart.
SO glad I decided to do this, not only because of the end product, but because of how stinkin’ easy it is for entertaining. Puff pastry is so easy to deal with, just let it thaw out then treat it as a pie dough. I folded my edges over, sealed it with a fork, poked a bunch of holes, and let it brown in the oven for 15 minutes.
While the crust was par-baking I quickly whipped up a bechamel made simply with flour, butter, and milk right in your saute pan then flavored with lots of cheese. I’ll walk ya right through it in the recipe! The bechamel gets spread on the pastry like pizza sauce, topped with the blanched asparagus, and put back in the oven until golden brown.
Imagine the bite of buttery flaky crust, garlicky cheese creaminess, and perfectly roasted asparagus. Like do I even have to talk you into this one? If you’re coming to the party this weekend, you prepare yourself. You and your waistline prepare yourself. Enjoy!
Note: The recipe seems long and overwhelming but I promise it’s not! Blanch the asparagus the night before. While the puff pastry is par-baking, quickly saute the onions/garlic, then in the same pan make the roux. Cheese sauce comes together in minutes then before you know it your face planting in deliciousness.
- 1 bundle asparagus
- 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano & Parmesan cheese, divided*
- Black pepper & garlic sea salt as needed
- Optional: Red pepper flakes (see notes)
- Needed: water, ice-bath, strainer
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
- First, prepare the asparagus. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard. Bring a medium pot of water (big enough to hold all of the asparagus) to a boil. Have the ice-bath next to the stove.
- Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook until al dente and bright green, about 2-3 minutes. Immediately transfer to the ice-water to shock. Remove and set aside until needed.
- Lay the puff pastry sheets on a baking sheet that's been covered with parchment paper. Fold over the edges of the dough to make a 1/2" crease and seal with the spikes of a fork. Using the fork, poke holes 6-7 times on the bottom of the puff pastry. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the dough starts to brown and becomes flaky. IF it puffs up too much, use the back of a wooden spoon to carefully deflate. Mine always does this. Set aside until needed.
- While that is baking, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and saute until fragrant and the onion is soft, about 2 minutes. Set the onion mix aside and clean the pan.
- Return the pan to the stove, keeping the heat to medium. Melt the butter. Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated. This is your roux. Cook 2 minutes until you no longer smell flour and only smell butter.
- Slowly whisk in the milk. Keep whisking to avoid any lumps. Bring the heat to medium-high and stir until milk thickens. When ready, the bechamel will coat the back of a spoon without running. This will take 4-5 minutes.
- Strain the bechamel and discard and lumps left behind. Stir in 3/4 cups of the cheese and the onion/garlic mix and stir until cheese is melted. Add sprinkles at a time of black pepper and keep tasting and adjusting as needed (I added about 1/2 teaspoon). Add, taste, and adjust garlic salt as needed.
- Evenly spread a ladle full of cheese sauce into the tart as if it were a pizza. Arrange asparagus slices onto the tart, then sprinkle with the remianing olive oil (1 tablespoon) and cheese. Bake for 12 minutes until asparagus is roasted, cheese is melted, and the pastry is golden brown.
- One box of puff pastry usually comes with 2 sheets. Can be found in the frozen section. Make sure you buy sheets and NOT shells!
- You can also use an Italian blend of cheese found in your bagged cheese isle.
- To add spice, saute a pinch of red pepper flakes with the onion & garlic.