Did you know that May is National Asparagus Month in the UK?
Nope nor did I until I started researching this post so it's a happy co-incidence to find I've recently tried a lovely recipe that ties in neatly with this national celebration.
I've also been learning about growing your own asparagus from a book I found in TK Maxx (yep that well known book store!) the other day. The book is called Grow Something To Eat Every Day and whilst my gardening skills are not quite up to scratch enough for me to commit to doing this just yet, it is really useful for finding out what's in season, when to plant, when to harvest and exactly what to do, so I'm enjoying learning a few tips - things that might come in handy one day!
So May is the month that the great British Asparagus is in season. With this in mind I wanted to find a nice, simple recipe to try out for a quick and easy after work meal using fresh ingredients.
I stumbled across a very straightforward one for Asparagus Pasta with Lemon, Chilli and Basil in a free magazine that I picked up in Waitrose the other day (I'm not advertising Waitrose - I also shop in many other great Supermarkets!!)
This recipe isn't online as far as I can see so I can't link to it as I'd hoped but I'll give you a modified run-down below. If you want to find the original it's in the Waitrose 'Early Summer Harvest 2014' free booklet currently gracing their checkouts!
This stood out to me because it requires very minimal ingredients most of which you will probably already have to hand or should at least find them easy enough to get hold of. Plus it's pretty effortless to prepare and make - it took me about 20 minutes all in all and that included taking many pictures and making Vine videos to post to Twitter at the same time! So it should be a readily manageable task for those nights after work when you just don't have the energy to make a big fuss in the kitchen. We served ours with pork chops as husband has to have a certain daily quota of meat! However it's a pretty great stand-alone dish without any extras if you like.
1 bunch asparagus (450g)
200g pasta (I used Conchiglie)
A knob of butter
1 tbsp lemon-fused olive oil (normal would work fine I'm sure but the lemon is nice!)
1 green chilli de-seeded and finely chopped (I didn't de-seed as we like heat in our household)
1-2 tbsp chopped Greek or Thai Basil leaves (I used Greek, I'm sure normal Basil would be fine)
25g Pecorino cheese shavings (I couldn't get this so I used Parmesan)
1. Basically cook the pasta as per instructions. Cut the asparagus in half down the middle and then into three pieces.
2. In a frying pan heat the butter and lemon oil over a moderate heat and saute the asparagus and chopped chilli for about 6-8 minutes until tender.
3. Cut two wedges from the lemon, push the asparagus to the side in the pan and add the wedges face down until slightly coloured. Set the wedges aside for the garnish.
4. Drain the pasta and add to the asparagus mix along with the basil. Toss well and season - add more lemon oil if required.
5. Serve with a sprinkling of the cheese and a wedge of the caramelised lemon on each plate.
Eat and enjoy!
This is such a speedy dish and a lovely use of seasonal asparagus.
I hope you get a chance to try it out and if you have any good seasonal recipes that you think I should try please leave your links in the comments box below.
Happy Asparagus Month!