This is a classic Italian sformato, an easy, yet elegant meal centerpiece.
2 pounds fresh asparagus spears
scant 1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 TBS grated pecorino cheese
Salt to taste
A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Butter and breadcrumbs to line the pan
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Wash the asparagus spears and break off white woody ends, then boil in lightly salted water just until soft. Remove to a plate, cool, and cut into inch-long lengths, setting the tips aside.
Liberally butter a 10-11 inch pie or tart pan and coat the insides with the breadcrumbs.
Beat the milk, eggs, nutmeg, and grated cheese in a bowl. Pour the mixture into the pan and add the asparagus stalks (they'll float). Bake the sformato for about 10 minutes, then add the tips, sprinkling them over the top, and bake for another 20 minutes, or until it has firmed up throughout.
Let cool and serve sliced, with a fairly rich white wine. Serves 8