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Recipe: Asparagus and Parmesan Pastries

Makes 48

Dill patches are just sending up tendrils at this time so they taste of spring, too, but substitute basil or another herb if you prefer.

½ cup grated Parmesan, divided

¼ cup part skim ricotta or Neufchatel (about 2 ounces)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Zest of ½ lemon 48 stalks asparagus, tough ends snapped off

1 (14.1-ounce) package prepared pie crusts

1 egg, beaten

Heat an oven to 350 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together ¼ cup Parmesan, ricotta or Neufchatel, dill and lemon zest. Cut asparagus spears on the diagonal into 3 pieces. Reserve bottom third of asparagus for another use.

Roll out one pie crust to a 10-by-15-inch rectangle. Spread half the cheese mixture over crust. Cut crust into squares, about 2½ inches per side. Working with one square at a time, arrange 2 pieces of asparagus including one tip diagonally on each square. Fold one corner of pie crust over asparagus, then fold opposite corner over and press lightly to seal. Asparagus ends should be peaking out. Arrange on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining squares.

Repeat process with remaining crust, ricotta mixture and asparagus and arrange on second baking sheet. Brush all pastries with egg and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Bake pastries until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Adapted from a recipe by Margie Thorpe

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It’s the season for brighter, fresher flavors: The tangy sweetness of strawberries, the tender grassiness of just picked asparagus, the refreshing sharpness of sorrel and the spice of young garlic and onions are just what we’re longing for after the darker, heartier foods of winter. It’s an age-old craving, this desire to indulge in the tonic vegetables and fruits of … 0

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