NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Apr 14, 2011) - Every culture has a special celebratory dish and, if you're Italian, at this time of year it is Easter pie. The pie is savory, not sweet, and is typically a mixture of egg, cheese and meat. Sort of a quiche-meets-pizza, it varies from region to region. In Sicily, pork and macaroni are an integral part of the pie. The Calabria version includes speck, mozzarella, sausage and ricotta. In Liguria, greens and ricotta are thrown into the mix. This variation opts for a ready-made crust to streamline the process. Easily adaptable, be sure to include your favorite meats and cheese. After all, it's a pie made for indulgence!


Pie crust for 11-inch tart pan*
2 eggs (reserve 1 tablespoon egg white)
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Jarlsberg cheese, divided
4 - 6 ounces Italian dry hot sausage, cut in ¼-inch dice
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved crosswise, seeded **
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 pound lightly steamed (depending on thickness, 4 - 6 minutes) asparagus
Optional: 1/4 cup sliced black or green olives

Preheat oven to 375°. Prick pie crust with fork and brush with 1 tablespoon egg white. Bake 12 - 15 minutes until crust begins to brown. Cool. Mix remaining egg with ricotta; blend in 2/3 of Jarlsberg. Spread half the mixture in cooled tart crust. Pat sausage into cheese mixture. Pat tomatoes on top of sausage. Sprinkle with seasonings. Gently spread remaining Jarlsberg/ricotta mixture on top.

Bake 30-40 minutes, until mixture is firm. While tart bakes, cut woody parts off asparagus and slice the rest in ¼-inch rounds, reserving tips.

While tart is still warm, add asparagus rounds. Top with remaining cheese, arrange asparagus tips on top and add olives, if desired. Bake 10-12 minutes, until cheese melts. Serves 8-10.

*This 11-inch tart pan recipe will also fit 2 8-inch tart pans.
**Cut tomatoes crosswise and squeeze out seeds. If using cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters and squeeze out seeds.

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