Greeny cream asparagus pasta recipe
STEPS 6 INGREDIENTS 9 TIME 35 MINS
My wife Laura and I first spied a version of this dish while photographing restaurant menus in Venice, Italy (for inspiration you understand!).
One pasta joint offered a plate named 'linguine alle punte di asparagi e crema al parmiggiano' (linguine with asparagus heads and parmesan cream). Sounds tasty, we thought. Next came a phone call to Mamma Marisa in Rapallo, Liguria for thoughts on how she might advise re-creating such a dish.
Her guidance taken on board (which included the genius move of grating a boiled egg yolk over the top the final serving for a great bit of orange contrast against the green sauce), we then tinkered a bit in the kitchen, where Laura suggested we blend the cooked asparagus stalks with the cream itself in a food processor. This gives this dish's sauce its unique light green color. And thus a new and creamy veggie treat was born.
(As you will note dear reader, mine was truly a bit part in its creation, consisting of just saying "Yes" to my Italian family's great ideas. But sometimes the trick truly is knowing when to say nothing!)
We hope you enjoy it.
200g/7oz fresh asparagus stalks (AKA 'spears')
250ml/8.5 fl oz double/full-fat cream
2-3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
200-250g long pasta (fettucine/linguine/pappardelle etc.)
Half a small white onion
Extra virgin olive
Small food processor/blender
Frying pan (ideally quite large and deep)
Deep pan/skillet (for pasta)
STEP 1 - We kick off this asparagus pasta with a little veggie preparation...
- De-end, peel and finely chop the half onion.
- Take the asparagus and snap off each stalk's thick 'woody' end (just bend one and you'll find it has a natural snapping point). Trash these snapped end sections.
- Place the remaining asparagus stalks in a frying pan and just cover the stalks with hot water (ideally from your kettle for speed).
- Bring water to the boil and simmer for approximately 6-10 mins, until you can slide a knife easily through the thickest part of the stalk.
- Pour away the water and remove stalks from the pan. Then chop off the heads and slice the remaining stalks into big chunks.
STEP 2 - Now set the egg to hard boil: pop it into a small pan of boiling water, containing a small glug of vinegar if you have it, and simmer for approximately 12 mins (13-14 if the egg is particularly large).
- Set a timer for this and when done, pour out the hot water and rinse the egg in cold. We'll come back to it...
STEP 3 - While the egg cooks, throw the asparagus stalks (but not the heads), plus the cream, parmesan and pinches of salt and pepper into your food processor/blender and whiz until smooth (as little time as possible to avoid the cream getting whippy).
- This mixing creates the recipe's gloriously green cream sauce.
STEP 4 - Back to your frying pan. Pop on a medium heat hob and after lightly coating with olive oil, fry the asparagus heads and finely chopped onion until the onion softens a little (3-5 mins).
- Then add the cream sauce and as soon as it begins to boil/simmer, remove the pan from the heat. Sauce done!
STEP 5 - Now cook up the pasta in a large pan of well salted water, following its packet's timings.
- When done, drain the pasta using a sieve/colander.
STEP 6 - Pop the frying pan of asparagus and cream back on a medium heat hob. When the cream begins to simmer, add the drained pasta and mix through well.
- Keep this pan on a very low heat while you remove the shell of the boiled egg.
To serve: place the saucy pasta onto plates, then grate the egg's boiled orange yolk over the top of each serving.
Enjoyed this asparagus pasta recipe? Try these...
• This crunchy asparagus pasta salad recipe
• This farmer's market style fresh mushroom ravioli recipe
• And... learn more about the excellent health benefits of asparagus over on this page
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