I have a confession to make; for a long time I didn’t know what the word ‘primavera’ meant. When I saw it on the menu at a restaurant I immediately assumed it to be a heavy tomato/meat based dish in the same vein as ragu or bolognese and passed it by. What a fool I was!
It turns out, as I’m sure many of you are already aware, that primavera actually means ‘spring’ and pasta primavera is a dish that is designed to showcase the very best vegetables of this charming season. Primavera sometimes contains meat but the focus is very much on the crisp new vegies of the season such as asparagus, peas, broad beans and spring onions. These vegies are all at their best this time of year and, in the case of broad beans, are only available for a short window of time before making way for tomatoes, zucchini and aubergines. It is best, therefore, to make the most of this delightful bounty while we can and this quiche primavera seeks to do exactly that.
As a vegetarian, quiche is something I am quite familiar with. It is a great dish to bring to pot-luck dinners and the like as they are easy to prepare and everyone, vego or otherwise, seems to enjoy it. While quiche lorraine often contains bacon or ham, meat is not really necessary which is what makes it such a great vego starter dish for those looking to reduce their meat intake. Some quiche can be quite heavy, with lashings of cream and thick runny egg yolks but as the weather warms up and the heavy layers go back into the wardrobe it is possible to lighten things up a little. In place of cream I have used plain yoghurt and ricotta cheese, I have also cut right back on the egg content. The result is the same fluffy, eggy texture you expect in a quiche but without the heaviness many of us are used to.
Serve with a fresh green salad.
- 1 package Careme sour cream pastry, defrosted
- 1 cup whole almonds
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup plain yoghurt
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tbspns chopped mint, roughly chopped
- 1 tbspn parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 tbspns chives, roughly chopped
- ½ preserved lemon
- 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed
- 1 cup peas
- 100g feta cheese
- 2 tbspns parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper
- Heat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
- Grease a tart tin with a little butter.
- Roll out pastry into tart case.
- Add almonds to the tin as you would pie weights and pop in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Slice asparagus spears in half and bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to the boil.
- Quickly blanch the asparagus and peas in boiling water for a minute or so.
- Drain and run under cold water to stop them from cooking further.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yoghurt, ricotta, herbs and preserved lemon.
- Remove pastry from the oven, allow to cool slightly and remove the almonds. Roughly chop half a cup of almonds for the quiche and put the rest aside for another use.
- Lay the asparagus out on the bottom of the case.
- Add the peas, feta cheese, ½ cup of almonds and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Gently pour out the egg mixture into the tart shell, ensuring even coverage.
- Top with parmesan cheese and place in the oven for 40 minutes or until browned on the top and set.
- Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a big leafy green salad.