Vanessa’s SPICY SAUSAGE AND ASPARAGUS CARBONARA
Asparagus and eggs are a match made in heaven – they just work. My pasta dish is a take on the traditional carbonara. Once again, it’s a dish I have never made before because I generally don’t cook with cream, however I often order it when out. I decided to use evaporated milk as it’s not as rich as a restaurant dish and has less fat, so it could be served often as part of your family meals. However, if you prefer cream, use it by all means. The asparagus gives the dish a healthy shot of colour and a break from the creaminess of the sauce. Buon appetito!
What you need
4 garlic cloves, chopped or sliced
6 good-quality spicy sausages
1 bunch fresh asparagus
2 eggs, beaten
375 ml-can evaporated milk or cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
500 grams penne pasta
How to make
- Pan-fry the garlic in a little oil over a medium heat.
- Grill or pan-fry the sausages and then slice diagonally.
- Remove woody ends from the asparagus and microwave (2-4 minutes), boil or steam. If microwaving, add 3 tablespoons of water. Check the asparagus so you don’t overcook it – it should still be firm to the bite.
- In a bowl mix the cooked garlic, eggs, evaporated milk and half the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the pasta in rapidly boiling salted water until al dente (firm but not hard to bite) for about 14 minutes.
- Drain and return pasta to the pot (don’t put the pot back on the element as the heat will cook the eggy carbonara sauce). Stir through the egg mixture.
- Serve sprinkled with remaining Parmesan and top with the sausages and asparagus.Garnish with ground black pepper and chopped parsley.
I made the mistake of putting the pan with the sauce and pasta back on the element with it turned off as I like my food really hot. My recommendation is not to do this as it’s a fine line between ending up with scrambled eggs or having a silky smooth sauce!
Ingrid’s ASPARAGUS FARINATA
This is an Italian flatbread made with chickpea flour. No kneading required in this dish, so it’s much simpler than bread making and similar to a crispy savoury pancake. Asparagus goes well with the nutty flavour of the chickpeas and the shavings crisp up nicely under the grill. It’s known as street food in Italy and made in large copper pans in wood-burning ovens. Vendors tear off pieces and serve it on wax paper to eat on the spot, however I think it’s a nice change for lunch served with a crisp green salad.
What you need
I used a 30cm pizza pan but you could use a large oven-proof frying pan. Do it in batches if your frying pan is small. The batter only needs to line the pan, much the same as a pancake.
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup lukewarm water
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons oil
1 bunch fresh asparagus, shaved (see tip)
1 tablespoon fresh herbs (oregano or thyme)
1 tablespoon oil
How to make
Preheat oven to 230°C or 210°C fan bake.
- In a bowl sift the chickpea flour and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Slowly add the lukewarm water, whisking continuously until smooth. Stir in the oil. Allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes.
- Place the shaved asparagus in a separate bowl. Add a splash of olive oil; mix to coat.
- Drizzle olive oil into pizza pan. Place pan in the preheated oven for 5 minutes until oil is hot.
- Pour in the batter. Scatter with the shaved asparagus and fresh herbs.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until batter is set. Turn the oven grill to highand grill the top for 5-10 minutes until golden and crispy.
To serve: Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt then, when slightly cooled, cut into wedges and serve with a green salad.
To shave asparagus, hold the woody ends like a handle and peel with a vegetable peeler; set aside the tough ends. Slice any leftovers into thin strips. Use the woody ends to flavour soups or stocks.