UK organic asparagus season is here. It can be added to your veg box via the Regather online shop. Had some on the weekend – roasted with olive oil and topped with a poached egg, with toasted Forge millstone bread on the side. Absolutely divine! It’s almost a crime to mess with asparagus too much and this recipe adapted from Nigella’s ‘Forever Summer’ fits the bill – enhances the asparagus flavour without smothering it. She calls for steaming the spears but I much prefer them roasted or fried gently in a little olive oil before adding to the pasta.
Short pasta with asparagus, lemon, garlic and parsley
- 250g bundle of asparagus
- Regular olive oil
- 2 portions of penne or rigatoni (or any short stubby pasta you want)
- 60ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 fat clove garlic, finely chopped
- Juice and zest of half a smallish lemon
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh flat- leaf parsley
- Preheat oven to 220C/gas 7. Wash the asparagus spears and pat them dry. If you have any tough very woody sections at the base of the spears, trim them off. Cut them diagonally into 2cm chunks. Cut very thick sections in half length-ways.
- Grease an oven tray with a bit of olive oil and lay the asparagus on the tray, drizzle with a little more olive oil and season. Roast for 7-10 minutes or until tender. Cooking time will depend on how skinny or chunky your asparagus spears are.
- As the asparagus goes into the oven, put your pasta on to boil.
- Put the 60ml extra virgin olive oil in a frying pain and gently turn the garlic golden over low heat – you don’t want the garlic to burn or the oil to lose its robust flavour. Then add lemon juice, stir and take off the heat.
- When pasta is al dente, drain and pour into the frying pan with the garlicky lemony oil. Add the asparagus, toss everything about, sprinkling with the parsley and lemon zest. Adjust seasoning and serve.