15 June 2011

Warm Asparagus Pasta Salad

Warm Asparagus Pasta Salad
Serves 2

2 servings pasta
7 asparagus tips
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
4 asparagus spears
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion
1 garlic clove
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Grated cheese, to serve

Put the pasta on to boil.

Remove the tips from seven spears of asparagus and put them in a baking tray. Sprinkle with oil and salt and roast at 150 degrees (300 Fahrenheit) for fifteen minutes, until cooked and slightly crispy.

Store three of the asparagus stalks in a glass of water in the fridge, covered with plastic. Cut the other spears in half widthways, then shave into very thin strips. I use a knife to pare them as thin (and wonky) as I can get them; SmittenKitchen recommends using a Y-shaped peeler.

Put the shaved asparagus into a large bowl and marinade in white wine vinegar with black pepper.

When the pasta is almost cooked, promptly drain it and leave it in the colander. Because this is a warm pasta salad, the next few steps should be done fairly quickly, giving the pasta time to cool a little (not too much) but not allowing the sauce to get unnecessarily hot.

Add the butter to the pasta pan and roughly chop the onion and garlic. Fry in the melted butter for no longer than one minute before adding the tomato sauce. Stir the butter into the sauce and add the cream. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of cinnamon (the slight sweetness takes away any metallic-tasting residue from the tomato tin, making it taste far more fresh than it actually is). Leave to combine on the lowest heat while you assemble the rest of the salad.

If your asparagus marinading bowl is large enough, continue in that bowl. If not, move to a larger one.

Dump the cooling pasta into the large bowl.

Put the asparagus stalks with their residual vinegar on top. Add the roasted asparagus tips, with their salty oil.

And pour the warmed tomato sauce on top. Toss through and serve with grated cheese to taste.