purple asparagus pancetta and gorgonzola tart – making it

When Ralph and I were in Mexico, I had more than one moment remembering, when I was young, thinking how unlikely it would be that we’d make it as a couple. Being surrounded by so many young couples beginning their lives together, I couldn’t help feeling a bit lucky that we were on the other side of it. Twenty five years ago, Ralph and I were as different as night and day. He was recently divorced and I was beginning the process. We were a statistic waiting to be recorded.

Ralph was overbearing. I was fiercely independent.

He was a loner. Gregarious understates my need to be with people.

He loved television. I didn’t own one. I could go on but you get the idea.

Every detail involved in being a couple, raising a family and building a life together was discussed – sometimes reasonably sometimes not. I was the communicator but in a self serving way. It would be nothing for me to keep Ralph up all night trying to convince him of my point of view. It was easier for Ralph to not talk about things. He would prefer to go to the gym or play hockey to workout his frustration rather than have to sit in a room with me while we explored our feelings.

He actually said to me one day, “You realize people don’t talk about this stuff!”

We did…

For years, we searched for the language that freed us of the need to be right. We spent countless hours learning to truly listening to what each other was trying to say. It was hard. I was far more interested in making my next point than I was in hearing Ralph. Winning the battle was more important to each of us than finding a common ground where we were both comfortable.

I can’t remember when it changed but it did. The angry, frustrated, self centered arguments became patient, open, meaningful discussions. Listening became more important than speaking. Needing to understand the intent or the motivation left us feeling safe enough to put down the need to conquer.

Don’t get me wrong! Ralph and I can still have a knock ’em, sock ’em drag out brawl but it’ll be over something ridiculous and we’re quick to expose it and let it go. Whatever ‘making it’ meant to me all those years ago, I’m not sure. I think when you’re young long term relationships are more about quantity of time rather than quality of time.

Today, ‘making it’ means having found and now sharing our best selves with each other.

It’s party season! I know – Nice segue! 

It’s December and we all need snacks for guests both invited and unexpected. Open faced puff pastry tarts are fantastic and super quick to throw together. Find the best commercial puff pastry available to you and keep it on hand in your freezer. It defrosts quickly so it’ll save you in a pinch!

Purple Asparagus Pancetta and Gorgonzola Tart
Makes one 9 x 11 tart you can cut the tart into whatever size pieces you’d like
Preheat oven 400*F

1 piece of commercial puff pastry, rolled into a 9 x 11 rectangle
6 purple asparagus spears, trimmed
½ cup pancetta, diced small
¼ cup gorgonzola, crumbled
2 teaspoons macadamia nuts, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Blanch the asparagus for 6 minutes then submerge in ice water until cool
  • Remove asparagus from water and dry thoroughly.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • If the puff pastry is not pre-rolled, roll pastry out to 1/8” thickness on a floured surface
  • Using the tines of a fork, prick the entire pastry surface leaving ½ “ frame around the edge
  • Place the asparagus evenly on the pastry .
  • Sprinkle asparagus with gorgonzola, pancetta, chopped nuts and garlic.
  • Season with sea salt and pepper.
  • Place in oven on lower rack and check at 25 minutes. The bottom should be crispy.
  • Allow to cool on cooling rack for 10 minutes then cut into pieces and serve.
  • Can be eaten warm or cold.

THE LOVE: It’s important that your puff pastry be crispy so don’t overload the top.

printable recipe

one year ago: baked beans

two years ago: fennel and asparagus salad

Thanks for reading.

here’s a few suggestions for a cocktail party to include with my purple asparagus tart:

  • These are gorgeous pictures Michelle! I love the one of just the bundle of raw asparagus. So pretty!

    • Thank you! I love the purple elastic holding the purple asparagus…

  • Ah, true love never runs smooth! I think this could be said about many couples…maybe all of the ones who look back and realize they made it through to the other side! My husband and I have certainly had our time in the war zone…and the cold war as well. Fortunately we’re a lot wiser today! Thanks for the honesty…and the recipe! ~ Sheila

  • Chand

    Michelle, I made your “hamburger helper” for the 2nd time tonight. Live you grown up redos! It brought back so many memories… My mom was in her 30’s during the sixties and she was the first to try all the time savers because she was busy raising 4 kids, running an antique shop and getting her masters in art! Hamburger helper, pampers whatever, she was game. Love your blog and your bits of wisdom.

    • Chand

      Love you redos, not live. Stupid phone!

    • What a nice way to start my day! Thank you for reading and commenting.