If working with phyllo dough fills you with fear, don’t worry—this recipe is beginner-friendly. There’s no crimping or folding the dough; you just lay flat sheets of dough on top of each other for a rustic, unfinished edge. Do make sure to thaw the phyllo according to package directions—preferably overnight in the fridge. Properly thawed dough won’t stick together and is relatively easy to work with. Skip past the big, fat asparagus spears you might see this time of year; you need thinner spears so that they’ll get done in the 20 minutes it takes to crisp the dough.
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
12 (14- x 9-in.) frozen phyllo pastry sheets, thawed
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds medium asparagus spears, trimmed to a length of 6 1/2 in.
Stir together ricotta, parsley, milk, thyme, garlic, and 3/8 teaspoon salt.
Place 1 phyllo sheet on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Cover remaining dough to keep it from drying out.) Lightly brush phyllo sheet with oil, and top with another phyllo sheet. Repeat layers with remaining phyllo sheets and oil, reserving 1 teaspoon oil to brush on asparagus.
Spread ricotta mixture on phyllo stack, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Arrange asparagus spears side by side over ricotta mixture. Brush asparagus with remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Bake at 400°F until phyllo is browned and crisp, 22 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt; top with shaved cheese.