Pasta with asparagus and peas
Photo - Robin MacDougall/Gettyimages.com
Spring on a plate!
This is a very versatile recipe easily adjusted to include other spring favourites. Try adding double-podded broad beans, sliced zucchini flowers, or baby zucchini, sliced lengthways. The cheese component is also flexible. Goat’s cheese adds more complexity than the simple goodness of fresh ricotta, or the mild tang of crème fraiche. For more flavour, add a handful of fresh herbs – parsley, dill, mint and rocket all lend their own harmonies to a dish that sings the freshness of spring.
What you need:
160g spiral pasta
1 bunch asparagus
half a cup of fresh or frozen peas
zest and juice of ½ lemon
100g of crème fraiche or goat’s curd or soft fresh ricotta
extra virgin olive oil, to finish
What to do:
Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and chop into 2cm lengths.
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the pack and two minutes before the timer dings, add the asparagus and the peas.
Drain the pasta and veg, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
Add the pasta back into the hot pan, with the lemon zest and juice and the cheese or crème fraiche. Toss everything together, moistening the mix with a little of the reserved cooking liquid.
Season with pepper and salt flakes, drizzle with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil and serve.
3 more ways with asparagus
Top lightly roasted asparagus with a poached egg, and serve with sourdough toast drizzled with olive oil. Smoked salmon slices or crisped prosciutto are delicious optional extras!
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Roast asparagus with hazelnuts
Roasting intensifies the flavours of asparagus. Roll the spears in oil, and roast at 180 C until the tips are starting to crisp. Dress with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or caramelised verjuice and top with a sprinkle of chopped roasted hazelnuts.
Fry a thinly sliced leek in butter until softened, then add a splash of white wine and let it reduce by half. Add a litre of chicken stock, a finely chopped potato and a bunch of finely chopped asparagus. Simmer until vegetables are soft, then whiz until smooth with a stick blender and check the seasoning.