Ahhhh… Asparagus season…
Each year I eagerly await for local asparagus to appear in the market, succumbing to the lure of ridiculously overpriced bunches of the first spears, which I eat simply grilled or steamed. I might eat it with some wild garlic made into pesto which obligingly also comes into season at the same time.
Once my initial fervour for eating asparagus very simply & reverently wears off, I want to incorporate it into other dishes too. This easy, zingy pasta dish is a perfect vehicle to show off the sweet grassiness of the asparagus spears, whilst being speedy enough for a mid-week supper, yet elegant enough to serve for a Saturday lunch.
In fact- this recipe is inspired by my friend Raffaella who served a similar dish when we visited her & her partner Steve for lunch a few weekends ago. What she served us reminded me so much of a much loved recipe that I used to make back when I first learnt to cook, one that I had inexplicably forgotten about , that I had to run home to make it again. My recipe has capers in it- which I love for an extra salty hit, Raffaella’s was just as good without. Either way, the magic is made with plenty of good quality olive oil, garlic and fresh lemon juice. Somehow they combine to make the most delicious and light sauce that perfectly offsets fresh green asparagus.
So – this recipe is a tribute to Raffa, a throwback to my first cooking efforts and a love affair with asparagus and lemons.
Lemony Asparagus PastaPrint Recipe
- 1 bunch fresh Asparagus (A bunch is roughly 4 spears per person...depending on how thick the spears are)
- 1 lemon- Zest and Juice
- 1/3 fresh chilli (optional but nice)
- 6 cloves garlic- finely sliced (not chopped)
- 3 Tbs capers in brine
- Spaghetti or Linguine (enough for 4 people)
- Salt & Pepper
- Fresh Flat Parsley (Around 4 Tbs roughly chopped)
- 3 Tbs good quality olive oil
Boil the water for the pasta & add the pasta in.
Whilst it is cooking, finely slice the garlic & chilli and put with the capers into a wide pan & sautee gently with 1 Tbs olive oil
Chop the Asparagus into little rounds, leaving the tops of the spears.
Add the asparagus rounds into the garlic & caper pan.
Add the zest & juice of the lemon.
Now put the tops of the spears in and sautee all together. Turn the heat off the pan and put a lid on.
By now, the pasta should be just cooked (check the packet times!) You want it done al dente.
Scoop out a bit of the pasta water into a cup and add a few tablespoons of it to the asparagus pan, giving it a good stire
Drain the pasta and add it all into the pan with the asparagus mix.
Stir it all together, adding salt, pepper and the chopped parsley.
Add a little more pasta water and the rest of the olive oil, stir again and serve.
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