Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Asparagus has come so early this year - a good month before the beginning of the official English asparagus season - that there's a danger you may be fed up with it already and be casting around for creative things to do with it. This is a good way to use up the thin asparagus called sprue or those misshapen spears you sometimes find at farm gates which don't meet supermarkets' exacting standards.
A bunch of asparagus
1 tbsp olive oil
A slice of butter
1/2 a bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1 tbsp fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried tarragon (optional but good)
200g tagliatelle, fettucine or spaghetti
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 tbsp grated parmesan or Grana Padano + extra for serving
A spoonful or two of double or whipping cream (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut the bottom quarter to a third off the asparagus spears. Cut off the tips and set aside then roughly chop the rest of the stem.
Heat a frying pan, add the oil then when that’s hot add the butter. Tip in the chopped asparagus and sliced onions, add the tarragon and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the tips to the pan and fry a few minutes more until tender then take off the heat.
Meanwhile bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add salt and cook the tagliatelle for the time recommended on the pack. Spoon off about 3 tbsp of the cooking water into the asparagus then drain the pasta and return to the pan.
Tip in the beaten eggs, parmesan and cream if using and mix well. The heat of the pasta will cook the egg but shouldn’t scramble it. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Quickly reheat the asparagus and toss with the pasta. Serve in warm bowls with extra parmesan.