Thursday, 16 October 2014

Pasta con Asparagi

I’d not heard of Craig Claiborne (with whom this recipe originates) but apparently he was one of the three best-known food writers in America during the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s when he wrote for the New York Times (if you are interested the other two were Julia Child and James Beard). He also, in 1961 published the ‘New York Times Cookbook’ which sold over three million copies and was eventually translated into seventeen languages.

I actually saw this recipe on Food 52, which is a brilliant online food community - excellent for sourcing great recipes from professionals and amateurs alike. As they say themselves on site this is “a mashup of all the best pasta sauces -- tomato, asparagus, and carbonara -- with surprisingly harmonious results”.

The carbonara angle comes from the fact that the vaguely sweet-sour tomato sauce is mellowed just before serving with the last-minute addition of beaten eggs. The egg pulls the sauce together to give you something glossy and silky rather than heavier as cream is wont to do.

I’ve used the beaten egg trick in a few pasta recipes now and it is a definite winner.

Pasta con Asparagi
Serves 2

150g fresh asparagus, woody ends removed, cut into 2 inch lengths, tips intact
10g butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced quite thickly
small (227g) tin chopped plum tomatoes, pushed through a sieve
1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
150g tortiglioni, penne or rigatoni
1 egg, plus one yolk, beaten well with a fork (you won’t need all of this)
15g grated parmesan

Bring a large pan of salted water to boil ready for the pasta.

Heat the butter in a large, frying or sauté pan and add the asparagus pieces plus a little salt and pepper to taste.

Cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, or until just tender and lightly browned and then transfer to a plate and put to one aside.

In the same pan, add the oil and garlic. Cook until the garlic is lightly browned and then discard it.

Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the pasta to the water and when it returns to a boil, cook for about 8-9 minutes or until tender. Do not overcook.

Just before the pasta is done, turn off the heat under the tomatoes and add about half of the beaten eggs, stirring vigorously so that they blend without curdling.

Add the asparagus to the tomato sauce and stir carefully.

Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the pasta water.

Add to the tomato asparagus sauce and stir in half the cheese. Add a tablespoon or 2 of the pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce a bit.

Serve with the remaining cheese sprinkled over.

No comments:

Post a Comment