As you can see, I have been messing around in the kitchen again. You can also see that I have found one of my cutting boards. Not my main one, as that is much bigger, but at this point any will do.
Visions of fresh-egg tagliatelle had been dancing in my head for a while, and when I saw the bunches of asparagus at the market I thought I would make a pasta with spring’s quintessential vegetables: asparagus and peas. This is a light and easy recipe to prepare, and one that in Italy we would not even bother to classify as vegetarian, but simply a really good plate of pasta.
About the tagliatelle: they are pasta all’uovo (egg pasta), meaning there are eggs added to it and are made with regular flour, as opposed to durum flour. If you are not up to making them yourself (recipe here), you can purchase some really good dried ones imported from Italy at most grocery stores with a specialty section. A brand I like is Bionatura and they are not only good and nice and thin, but also 100% organic. I find them in the pasta section at Whole Foods, usually in the lower shelves. Otherwise, there is always Amazon! Another good source of imported dry egg pasta and other specialty foods is Market Hall Foods.
And if you want to make this dish vegan, by all means you can use regular dry pasta like linguine, or if you prefer short pasta, farfalle (bow ties) or penne work well with this recipe. And skip the parmesan, of course!
SPRINGTIME TAGLIATELLE WITH ASPARAGUS & PEAS
yields: 3-4 portions
- 250 gr. (ca. 1/2 lb.) egg tagliatelle pasta (recipe)
- 1 bundle asparagus, ends trimmed (ca 320 gr./11.3 oz.)
- 200 gr. (ca 7 oz.) fresh peas, frozen also work, as peas hold up really well frozen
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled, halved and core removed
- small bundle of fresh parsley, chopped
- coarse sea salt
- fine sea salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- extra-virgin olive oil
- shaved parmesan
ONE – Cut the asparagus crosswise into one-inch long pieces, approximately of course. The tips can be longer so they don’t get destroyed. As you can see, I used asparagus on the thinner end of the spectrum. If you are using thicker ones, trim off the tips, and carefully slice them in half lengthwise, then slice the stems at an angle.
TWO – Bring a medium-large pot of water to a boil, then add a good handful of coarse sea salt. While you are waiting for the water to boil, heat the garlic cloves with about 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan. When it starts sizzling, add the asparagus, season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and flip or stir. Let cook covered for about 1-2 minutes at medium-high heat, then remove the lid and let the juices evaporate and the asparagus color for another minute. The asparagus need to be cooked, but al dente. Set aside.
When the salted water is boiling, add the peas, then the pasta, and lower the heat to medium. Simmer uncovered until the pasta is cooked (about 5-7 minutes, but the package will tell you), a wooden spoon placed on top will help prevent overflow.
Egg pasta needs to be cooked, not floppy, of course, but tender, because al dente doesn’t really work well. But, by all means, cook it to your taste.
THREE – Just before straining the pasta, place the pan with the asparagus back on heat. Pour the pasta and peas into a pasta strainer set in the sink, shake up and down a little to drain the water off, then pour the lot into the pan with the asparagus. Drizzle more extra-virgin olive oil and flip/stir it all together, letting it all gather flavor; about 1 minute on high heat should do it. Sprinkle it with a handful of freshly chopped parsley and stir again. Divide onto single plates (or pour into a large heated bowl), sprinkle with more parsley, drizzle with a little more extra-virgin olive oil, an add a few flakes of shaved parmesan.
A few notes: if you like to punch it up you can add bits of bacon or ham to the sauté pan with the asparagus, or even shrimp or scallops. A richer version can be achieved with some cream and grated parmesan.
And if you enjoyed this recipe, here are a few more spring inspired recipes: