Phew, just in time for this months NCR (No Croutons Required) event. NCR is hosted by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen, who is this month's host. The theme of this month was to transform asparagus into a vegetarian salad or soup. I decided on a salad and combined it with pasta, an obviously very fashionable combination since a lot of bloggers went for it (at least the ones I'm following). I pondered for some time what I could create for this event. My asparagus soup recipes are very tasty but quite ordinary, but when I came across Austrian turbo housewife's blog Prostmahlzeit I knew exactly what I wanted. Her dish is a warm one and not quite vegetarian, but all I needed was her lovely picture of her Spargel-Rucola-Spathetti.
Here are the main ingredients:
Look for very fresh white asparagus, because it needs a bit of crunchiness after pan-roasting. Yes you have heard right; instead of boiling or steaming, the asparagus is pan roasted and thus keeps all the flavour in it ... and a welcome amount of crunchiness :)
I also used a specially prepared pasta, bronze plate extruded spaghetti. Expensive, but for a special treat well worth trying out. They have a rougher surface (good for attaching sauces) and a bit different taste than regular pasta.
And here is the result:
And here is the recipe:
1/2 a package of spaghetti (250 g)
300 g white asparagus
olive oil for frying
1 1/2 handful of wild rocket (arugula)
1 garlic, pressed
1 1/2 organic limes (organic because you will also use the zest)
loads of freshly ground black pepper
herb salt, used sparingly
1 tablespoon of toasted pine nuts
Peel the asparagus, wash and set aside to let it dry a bit. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti al dente, drain and surprise them with a cold shower (otherwise they will stick together and they cannot wiggle so nicely between the asparagus and rocket).
Cut the asparagus in 4 or more parts and fry them in olive oil. Toss them around now and then to get an even browning.
Now make your dressing with the zest and juice of the limes (if yours are as dry as mine, add some lemon juice), the pressed garlic, herb salt, lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper, and olive oil.
Mix all the ingredients and pour over your dressing. Make a mild mess and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.