This cherry tomato, asparagus, and herbed ricotta tart is an easy light lunch or dinner that makes use of frozen puff pastry. Topped with creamy cheese and tender roasted vegetables, it’s like an ode to spring.
I love ready-made puff pastry sheets–my freezer is stacked with them. A lot of chefs can be a bit snooty about them, but I am definitely not. They are brilliant; roll them out, cover them with delicious toppings and pop them in the oven, and you’ve got a delicious supper. I love to do a tart a week using different vegetables that I’m growing in the garden.
The whipped ricotta with herbs, Parmesan and garlic is sensational and should be added to all your vegetable tarts. If you have some delicious homemade pesto (or a good shop-bought one), then drizzle it over the tart for an extra layer of flavour.—Clodagh McKenna
Herbed Ricotta Tart FAQs
What other vegetables can you use on this tart?
It’s only limited to your imagination! What’s most important: Make sure that the veggies can cook in 20 to 30 minutes. The secret is to slice them thinly. Any vegetable can cook within that time if thinly sliced. Think onions, shallots, broccoli rabe, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, bell peppers… you name it.
Another way to go is to buy marinated cooked vegetables at the market. Drain them well and arrange them on top. Boom.
Can I make this tart ahead of time?
To an extent, yes. Puff pastry is always best the day it’s baked. But the moisture from the ricotta cheese can cause a soggy bottom if it sits too long after the tart comes out of the oven. So make this no more than an hour or two ahead of time.
Cherry Tomato, Asparagus, and Herbed Ricotta Tart
- One (9- to 11-oz) sheet puff pastry rolled to a 10- by 12-inch (25- by 30-cm) rectangle
- 10 1/2 ounces whole milk ricotta
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 3/4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon) preferably organic
- 5 ounces asparagus spears woody ends trimmed
- 9 ounces cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large egg beaten
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Unroll the puff pastry onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Using a sharp knife, score a 3/4-inch (2 cm) border around the edge of the pastry, being careful to not cut all the way through. Prick the pastry inside the border all over with a fork. This will help to stop it from puffing up in the oven.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta, garlic, Parmesan, chopped herbs, and lemon zest, then season liberally.
- Spread the ricotta mixture over the tart inside the border. Place the asparagus spears over the tart and dot around the cherry tomatoes, cut-side up. Gently press down on the tomatoes so that they sink slightly into the ricotta mixture, brush lightly with olive oil.
- Brush the pastry border with the beaten egg and bake until the pastry is golden and cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes. Season with pepper and serve.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This cherry tomato, asparagus, and herbed ricotta tart recipe was as delicious as it was gorgeous! The puff pastry crust was delicious and framed the herbed ricotta beautifully. My asparagus was very thin so it took a lot of stalks to weigh 7 ounces. There were too many stalks to have it look like the photograph so I decided to make a sort of flower garden pattern. The asparagus was roasted to perfection. I will definitely be making this again when asparagus is in season! 10 out of 10 stars!
What a delightful tart! It’s very light and refreshing, and the acidity of the tomatoes is an awesome counterpoint to the slight sweetness of the ricotta. This would be a fantastic appetizer or canape, but also a great main dish in warmer weather.
The recipe worked very well and though I am the queen of tweaking recipes I actually followed the directions here for the most part and it came out beautifully–and more importantly–deliciously! Unfortunately, my local grocery had no asparagus so I just made the tart with mixed cherry tomatoes and it was lovely, though I can see how the asparagus would be fantastic with the lemon zest.
You definitely want vegetables that will play well with lemon and cook enough in the minimal time this tart spends in the oven. The ricotta base would work for winter vegetables as well with some flavor tweaking, maybe sage and thyme with very thinly sliced butternut squash pieces, or pre-cooked sliced root vegetables or squash. It’s a great canvas for many flavors!
This cherry tomato, asparagus, and herbed ricotta tart recipe is great for a light lunch paired with a salad or as an appetizer. The tart was easy to make, especially when using frozen puff pastry. Don’t skimp on the herbs–use all of the chives, parsley, basil, and lemon. The combination was so flavorful with no one herb overpowering the rest. I added a little tomato pesto to the tart when serving–it helped to bring out the flavors of the tart!
I am in agreement with the author of this recipe about puff pastry. It’s a great item to have in the freezer as it makes an impressive main or appetizer in no time. The cherry tomato, asparagus, and herbed ricotta tart came together really quickly and the end result is gorgeous! The ricotta, herbs, and lemon are a delicious base for the vegetables. I wondered if the raw vegetables would cook enough and they came out beautifully cooked.
My asparagus were quite large so I halved them lengthwise. A small diameter asparagus will be just fine to leave whole. I also only used about half of the tomatoes and that is really personal preference on how many you want on your tart.
The standard box of puff pastry at my local store is a 17.3-ounce box with 2 sheets in the box. I used 1 sheet and rolled it out to 12- by 10-inches and it worked perfectly. At my house, it was a unanimous “make this one again!”
This recipe makes a very delicious tart, and with herbed ricotta as the base, the possibility for variations on the herbs and vegetables are only limited by your imagination (and your garden/pantry ingredients, of course!)
Be sure to check the ingredients and use only puff pastry that is actually made with butter. Several brands that are available in grocery stores are made with vegetable oils (e.g. palm, soybean, hydrogenated cottonseed.) Definitely not the best for you nor would you get the super-buttery flavor you’d expect from a properly-made pâte feuilletée (although they do a pretty good job of mimicking the real thing.) Therefore, I agree with the author that there’s no need to be snobbish about using the ready-made product, if it has the correct ingredients.
Watch the baking time carefully. Puff pastry is a bit tricky, as I learned in culinary school when I took a beautifully browned pastry out of the oven, declaring it done, and Chef Christopher told me to look at it more carefully and I would see that inside it was still raw. My full-size tart took 28 minutes to be completely done.
This is a delicate and delicious savory tart that looks like it came straight out of a French Patisserie — even mine turned out gorgeous with very little effort required! The tart was assembled in under 30 minutes and with a quick bake of 20 minutes, you’ve got a fabulous starter or light main course in under an hour.
The ricotta has a very mild flavor so if you want to punch it up a bit, you could add another stronger cheese or pesto but I loved it as written. My puff pastry was about 9 oz. rather than 11 but I don’t think that was a problem. I was definitely not able to use all the asparagus or all the tomatoes (in fact I used exactly half of the asparagus). We ate this as a main course along with a substantial salad.
The flavors here were pretty wonderful and I can easily imagine substituting other vegetables, perhaps roasted eggplant, mushrooms, and caramelized red onion. In other words, the concept allows for a whole host of other options, including the suggested pesto. The little burst of lemon and assorted herbs and garlic in the ricotta topping were a lovely complement to the asparagus and tomatoes.
Originally published February 24, 2022