Sunday, 7 August 2011

The River Cafe Tagliatelle with asparagus and spring herbs

A simple (ish) summer recipe from this very good little River Cafe cookbook.

The recipe calls for sprue asparagus which the powers of Wikipedia inform me are the skinny first asparagus of the season.  Unfortunately it's now August - asparagus therefore very last season.   However I was cooking for five vegetarians and wanted to make them a posh pasta, I swallowed the food-miles guilt and bought these Peruvian skinnies.
You chop the heads off and boil the stalks and tips independently.  As you will realise from my other blogs, I am quite lazy in the kitchen.
To me boiling the same vegetable in two different stages equates to a labour of love.  One day I may graduate to hand-making ravioli and weaving my own mozzarella (which actually looks quite fun) but for now this is as good as it gets in Casa Newman.
You then boil garlic and cream together, fry some garlic in butter, add a mixture of spring / summer herbs (I used basil, parsley and mint)

and combine together.
At this point one of my loveliest friends arrived with some beautiful lillies for me
and a rainbow appeared
Two events that made me almost as happy as this did:
A note on today's tagliatelle.  I used fresh pasta for this recipe:
Normally I am cut and dried-dried when it comes to pasta.  But I do think fresh pasta does have a more luxurious / high-end feel to it - I think it's texture more than anything. 

The end result was lovely - when I'd dumped a load of parmesan on it.  Very simple and fresh tasting (the mint and basil really pull their weight in this dish).
I was serving it inbetween a very simple tomato and mozzarella salad
and a ridiculously rich triple chocolate brownie and ice-cream
and I think it was a pretty good running order: start off with an almost healthy salad (minus the mozzarella  and olive oil).  Progress to a pasta that is vegetable and herb based (albeit doused in cream and cheese) and then give up any pretense of virtue by the time you reach pudding.

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