A surfeit of meat whilst on holiday in Austria last week and some sunny weather have left me longing for light, summery dishes. Asparagus fits the bill perfectly and is still in season so I decided to try to come up with a pasta dish, rather than the usual asparagus risotto that is frequently seen at this time of year.
There are basically only three ingredients - asparagus, ricotta and a shallot and yet it worked beautifully as a pasta sauce. The delicate flavour of the asparagus wasn't overpowered by the ricotta and the shallot just added a gentle kick. Add a sprinkling of parsley and a generous grating of parmesan and you've got a wonderfully quick, fresh, delicious supper.
I'm sending this over to Jaqueline's (from Tinned Tomatoes) monthly challenge, Pasta Please, hosted this month by Lucy over at BakingQueen74.
200g green asparagus
handful of fresh parsley
4 tablespoons olive oil
300-400g pasta, any shape you want
Wash the asparagus, then cut off the tips and set them aside. Boil the spears in lightly salted water for about 5-7 minutes - they need to be much softer than when eating them on their own as they are going to be blended with the ricotta.
Place the asparagus spears in a food processor with some salt, pepper, the ricotta and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Blend until smooth.
Blanch the asparagus tips for about 1 minute in boiling water (I usually just throw them into the water I've got boiling for the pasta), then fish them out and leave to drain.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water.
In the meantime, finely chop the shallot and cook gently in a frying pan with the rest of the olive oil until softened.
Add the asparagus and ricotta sauce, the blanched asparagus tips and mix everything gently together, leaving on the heat for a few minutes to warm through. Chop the parsley roughly and add it to the sauce. If it looks too thick, add some of the pasta water to thin it slightly.
When the pasta is al dente, drain and mix everything together well.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan.