Easy to transport and full of clean summer flavours, this pie is the star addition to your picnic basket along with a chilled bottle of Cirò Rosato. The recipe can be easily halved or quartered and the filling could incorporate any spring vegetables – from asparagus to baby artichokes hearts and spinach. For this recipe, I like to use Grana Padano 9-16 months for its light milky and buttery flavour.
100g broad beans, podded 100g peas, podded 2 tablespoons olive oil 100g griotte onion or spring onions, chopped 170g baby courgettes with flowers, chopped and flowers reserved 175g baby carrots, chopped 500g ricotta 2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg for glazing 80g Grana Padano over 16 months grated + 4 tablespoons for sprinkling (9-16 months) Grated zest of ½ lemon Nutmeg Salt and freshly ground pepper 3 x 320g packs of ready rolled puff pastry
Blanch the peas in salted water for 30 seconds. Drain and refresh under cold water. Blanch the broad beans the same way and pod them: squeeze each broad bean delicately between your thumb and index to pop them out of their membrane. Set aside. Pan-fry the onions and carrots in the olive oil for 10 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Add the chopped courgettes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peas, broad beans and chopped courgette flowers. Season well and cook for a minute. If the mixture is too wet, place it under a hot grill for a few minutes. Leave to cool.
Mix the cooled vegetables with the ricotta, egg yolk, Grana Padano and lemon zest until well blended. Season with a few gratings of nutmeg, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Lightly beat the egg with a pinch of salt. Cut the puff pastry into 8 (12x23cm) rectangles (you will have some left-over pastry). Line two large baking trays with baking paper and lay two pastry rectangles on each one. Spread a quarter of the vegetable and ricotta mixture on top of each rectangle, leaving a 2cm border all around.
Brush the border with beaten egg and lay a second rectangle of pastry over the top. Seal the edges by pressing down with a fork. Poke the top, brush with egg and sprinkle with Grana Padano. Repeat for the other three pies. Bake the pies for about 30 minutes. They should be well risen and golden. Leave to cool.