Tuesday, May 20, 2014
It's now officially one of my favorite times of the year - asparagus season! Asparagus is the harbinger of spring and one of those fleeting vegetables that makes it extra special. It's one of those things that just isn't the same (or worth the price) out of season. So when it's here, we eat up as much as we can and enjoy every bite! For this dish, I combined a lot of spring vegetables and flavors that I think pair nicely with asparagus - spinach, garlic, chives, and I used my salted preserved lemons. I'm really enjoying using the preserved lemons in different dishes and they worked beautifully in this pasta.
So if you are still in the midst of asparagus season - get some before it's too late! This pasta dish will serve about four people.
1-1/2 lbs. asparagus, woody ends removed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 lb. dry spaghetti
extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup dry white wine/vermouth
1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped plus 2 teaspoons of juice
3 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add the asparagus and blanch it for 60 seconds. Remove the asparagus with a spider or slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Bring the water back up to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook until just under al dente. Reserve about 2 cups of pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant. Stir in the chopped preserved lemon and the wine/vermouth. Let the wine/vermouth bubble and reduce by half. Stir in the blanched asparagus and baby spinach.
When the pasta is ready, toss it into the pan with the vegetables. Add some pasta cooking water, about 1/2 cup at a time, until your desired consistency. Stir in the preserved lemon juice, black pepper, and chives and heat through.
Serve hot topped with an additional drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
What was I cooking one year ago?: sesame chicken and broccoli stir-fry
Two years ago?: spiced rhubarb cake
Three?: spring onion and pea risotto
4?: roasted asparagus and goat cheese salad with honey-balsamic vinaigrette