Spring has hit New Zealand, flowers are blossoming, weather is getting warmer and a wider variety of veggies and fruit are available for us to enjoy.
This season also meant for us the welcoming of our second baby; on a hot - more like summer- day he came to this world to complete the familia. We are slowly getting used to be four, taking the days slowly and cooking simple but nourishing dishes to enjoy together.
What better ingredient to use this season than asparagus; thin and fresh as they should be with their grassy but subtle flavour, enhanced with a good amount of fresh herbs. This dish is fast and straightforward but finger licking good. The sort of recipe a new mum wants in her repertoire.
Tagliatelle with Asparagus and Herbs
Serves 3 or 4 with a starter
Adapted from the River Cafe cookbook
700 gr thin asparagus spears
4 big garlic cloves, peeled
4 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs (oregano, basil, parsley, mint)
2 tbsp olive oil
120g Parmesan, freshly grated
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Chile oil, for serving
Trim the tough ends from the asparagus and chop finely. Chop one garlic clove and herbs, separately, and reserve.
In a small pot bring the cream to a boil with the rest of the whole garlic cloves and simmer until they are soft. Remove from the heat and discard the garlic.
In a wide saucepan heat the olive oil and butter and fry half of the chopped asparagus for around 5 minutes, stirring every now and then. Add the rest of them, along with half the herbs and the chopped garlic. Follow with the flavoured cream. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the cream starts to thicken, around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper (you'll be adding more salt with the parmesan so keep this in mind). Keep warm.
Cook the pasta in salted water as per package instructions (usually 11 minutes for al dente tagliatelle), drain, keeping a cup of the cooking water, and add the sauce along with half the Parmesan and the lemon juice. You might need to add a bit of pasta water to get to a saucy consistency, remember pasta keeps absorbing liquid as it cools down. Serve with remaining Parmesan and chilli oil drizzle over the top.