What ingredient do you find yourself reaching for more than any other? For us, it’s Parmigiano Reggiano and no matter what, we always make sure there’s a huge chunk of it waiting for us in the fridge.
From a grating on our breakfast omelette, through to a refuelling post-HIIT cheeky chunk – it’s so much more than a pasta topper (although it’s pretty great at that too). Aside from using as an ingredient, it’s also delicious on its own (as we’ll show later), with the flavour profile becoming stronger, spicier and more fragrant with age. A good chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano lasts absolutely ages but you can also cut off smaller pieces and grate straight from the fridge too!
Parmigiano Reggiano is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product, with distinctive characteristics and links to its area of origin. By law, all stages of Parmigiano Reggiano’s production process, right down to the packaging of the cheese, must take place exclusively in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Bologna to the left of the river Reno, and Mantua to the right of the river Po. This is so that the cheese can be made under the watchful eye of the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano, who ensure that each individual wheel of Parmesan is quality-checked before it is sold to consumers. Despite its origins in Northern Italy, it’s widely available in all major supermarkets and most delis here in the UK.
In a two-part series with Parmigiano Reggiano, we’re sharing two of our favourite ways to eat ‘The King of Cheeses’, at home, beginning with this easy tart recipe, although there really are endless ways to enjoy.
Parmigiano Reggiano Asparagus Tart
This creamy tart looks so impressive but by using ready-made puff pastry, it’s ridiculously easy to rustle up. We use grated Parmigiano Reggiano in both the base mixture and on top for a crispy finish. Asparagus is in season from April to June so we’d recommend eating as much as you can whilst it’s here!
50g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated plus extra to serve
1 x 500g Ready-made puff pastry sheet (this can be found in the frozen or fridge aisle at the supermarket).
1 bunch of asparagus, tough stalks snapped off.
Zest of 1 lemon
4 x Garlic cloves, grated (we like using a Microplane)
5 tbsp Mascarpone
Dried mixed herbs (we like oregano, thyme, marjoram and rosemary)
Salt & Pepper
Little extra flour for dusting
Heat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6 and line a baking tray with a sheet of non-stick baking paper.
Roll out the puff pastry to about the size of your baking tray, scoring 2cm in from the edge. Don’t worry if it slightly overhangs. Prick all over the centre of the base (this will stop the middle from puffing up).
Toss the asparagus with the olive oil and grated garlic and season well.
Mix half of the Parmigiano Reggiano with the mascarpone, mixed herbs, lemon zest and plenty of cracked black pepper. Don’t add extra salt here as the Parmigiano Reggiano is already deliciously salty.
Spread this mixture inside your border. Arrange the asparagus spears in rows, alternating the direction of the spears. Don’t worry if there’s a little gap in between each.
Scatter over the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano.
Bake for 15 minutes at which point check to see how the cheese is doing. If it looks nice and brown already, you can lightly cover with tin foil and then continue baking for another 15 mins.
We like to serve our tart with a simple rocket salad, dressed in plenty of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. In terms of wine, we find a chilled glass of Italian rose is the perfect pairing.
Next week we’ll be showing you how to create the ultimate Parmigiano Reggiano Date Night Board…
This is a sponsored post written in partnership with Parmigiano Reggiano.