Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Asparagus carbonara

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.

Asparagus carbonara
Serves 2

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.


Colleen said...

This sounds delicious. We are well into our Asparagus season here in the southeast US but I find we cannot get enough!

Sarah said...

I got hold of some expensive French pinky-tipped white asparagus the other day. Wanting to make more of it than usual, I made a gratin using a French recipe.

I thought it very disappointing, but I like the sound of your carbonara.

I won't be buying the white stuff again though, just gimme green.

Fiona Beckett said...

I quite like white asparagus Sarah but it does have a different appeal. All asparagus depends how fresh you can get it. Just picked - as with most veg - is always best.

Sounds as if you're enjoying it, Colleen!

Iain said...

A chef in the papers this weekend pointed out that just because Asparagus has come earlier doesn't necessarily mean there will be a lot more of it! Maybe we should eat it whilst we can before it is sold out?

Ania said...

I had great fun with the aspargus this season. I still have some frozen. In case I get a real craving. ;-) I love them both green and white.