Tuesday, 11 January 2011
In effect, this is an egg-less version of my mum's Artichokes A La Polita (the making of which i do intend to document precisely some day) but with asparagus as the main hero. So it will work well with artichokes too, but then you want to add dill instead of chives.
Chunky asparagus works better in this, as the lemon may obscure the subtle flavour of thin ones.
you ll need;
1 bunch of asparagus
tagliatelle or papardelle or other flat thick pasta, broken spinach lasagne will also do
juice of 1/2 lemon
dry white wine
2 garlic bulbs peeled but whole
1 small pink or red onion, chopped finely
2 stalks of leafy celery chopped finely
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
red pepper flakes
1 large potato or 2 small, peeled and chopped in tiny cubes
Cut asparagus stalks in small thin slices, and cut the potatoes in tiny tiny cubes, like less than 1cm each sice. Cook / steam of boil the stalks and potatoes until just about cooked, then add the spears for the last minute or so. Drain and keep aside.
Heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil, add the garlic bulbs, chopped onions and chilli flakes, cook slowly until soft and almost brown / dont brown them. If you re using celery (not the leafier selino) add it now.Remove the garlic cloves.
Add the wine, wait until it evaporates, then add stock and let the sauce reduce a little.
You can prepare this a ahead, and finish it off when you re about to eat.
When your pasta is just almost cooked, toss the asparagus and the chopped celery leaves and chives, and cook very briefly on moderate heat, stirring to blend and thicken the sauce.
Add lemon juice, and the pasta - adding a tad of the pasta water (a ladle or less) to moisten the dish, and stiring around to release the starch of the potatoes which will bind the pasta to the sauce nicely.
Some grated pecorino or ricota salata in moderation suits it well.