I am a big fan of asparagus. I already posted a great soup that really celebrates this singular speared vegetable. It looks wonderful on a plate and it is so easy to cook. Quite simply blanch in salted water and voila! A wonderful side dish to any meal. Whip up some hollandaise, reduce some balsamic vinegar and create a wonderful little salad.
Harvested in spring, expensive in winter, asparagus should be used in season as much as possible. If you like the white asparagus more than the original, be prepared to spend for it. It is a little more labour intensive to create the the white asparagus. Which is done by denying the asparagus any sunlight.
I like the green variety myself; especially for this recipe. A simple pasta served in a light broth. I think it is a shame that many home cooks feel like they have to have a sauce for pasta. That is simply not true. In fact, "alla olio" refers to a style of pasta that is lightly tossed in oil.
Keep it simple and the results just may amaze you.
Fettuccine with Asparagus and Baby Scallops
12 Asparagus Spears
2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
1 Cooking Onion, finely diced
Juice of 2 Lemons
1 Small Red Pepper, finely diced
1 Pint of Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
200 ml White Wine (I've used rum and it works too)
Small Bunch of Chives, chopped
About 30 Baby Bay Scallops
Box of Fettuccine
Drizzle of Olive Oil
Dab of Butter
200 g Parmasan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste
In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta as per manufactuer's instructions.
In a medium sauce pan of salted water, cook asparagus until tender. Cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the asparagus. Remove and shock in cold water.
In a large saute pan, heat oil and cook onion and garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add peppers and tomatoes and continue to cook for 3 - 4 minutes. Add scallops and wine. Bring to a boil and let simmer for one minute. Add lemon juice and asparagus. Bring up to heat and season to taste.
Toss with pasta.
A Humble Chef's tip: if making right away, don't bother shocking the asparagus and toss in broth. If you like a little more liquid, hold back on seasoning and add a small ladle of pasta water.
Variation: Shrimp, white asparagus, rose sauce. Wonderful.