A nice fresh pasta dish vs pints in the Pav

asparagus-ingredients

Coorrrrr….you’re gorgeous, you are.

Yes, it was a difficult decision.  I joined twitter today – which is…still a bit confusing to me but no doubt I’ll get there – and there was a lot of summer related tweets going around the place.  At about half 2 I sent out the thought of beers in the Pav.  For international readers, 1) it was really sunny today in Dublin and 2) The Pav is The Pavillion, the cricket pitch in Trinity College, Dublin.  Or more specifically, the pub on the cricket pitch of Trinity College.  On the three days a year that we have sun here in Dublin, the Pav is a great spot for a few beers, as they sell a reasonable pint at a reasonable price and the grass is lovely and green and it gets busy with revellers who are soaking up the sun.  So today had that kind of Pav feeling.  Reckless late afternoon boozing in the sun.  *Sigh*

Anyway, I think my call to arms for the Pav today was slightly premature.  Let’s hope that this lovely sunny day isn’t the last for the rest of the year and there will be other opportunities for the Pav or indeed a nice beer garden in 2009.

Instead, I went for the infinitely more sensible dinner at home with Niall and our friend Rodrigo.  I was watching my new friend Hugh Fethering-Willingstock’s TV programme last Sunday – I love it so – and he was banging on about asparagus.  Also, English Mum made a yum looking asparagus and chiken risotto a while back.  So I went for this recipe this evening.

What you need for BBC Good Food’s Asparagus Cream Pasta

A bunch of lovely asparagus

142ml tub of double cream (go on, you know you want to)

2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole

50 g parmesan, grated

250g tagliatelle pasta

I was making this for three people so I put in a bit more cream – about 200ml in the end – and a bit more parmesan, but left all the other measurements as they were.

Tagliatelle is a yummy pasta.  I always have a problem with rice and pasta in that I am forever making too much for whoever I’m feeding.  Then you have to throw it away and it goes to waste, which is a damn shame.  Tagliatelle is great because it comes in the little balls and you just pop in three balls of pasta for each person.  And it’s a deliciously ribbony pasta that you can twirl around on your fork very easily indeed.

Start off by washing the asparagus and chopping off the woody bits at the end.  Then chop off the spears at the top and put them aside.  You can chop them as short or longish as you like – basically they’re going to be in the pasta whole later so do what you feel is right in your asparagus loving heart.

With the stalks of the asparagus, pop them into boiling water for about five minutes, until tender.  In the meantime, put the cream into a small saucepan with the two cloves of whole garlic, and bring that to a boil, stirring it along the way.  Once it’s just about to boil, take it off the heat and put to one side.

The asparagus stalks should be tender at this time so get them out of the pan and drain them off.  Now it’s time to blitz.  I only have a hand held blender which is very handy for soups and that kind of thing but a nightmare if you have anything liquidy because it goes all over the place!  In the BBC recipe, it says to add the tips to the cream and throw in the parmesan cheese, and then blitz it all.  I tried that and I got a load of cream in my eye.

So, if you’re using a hand held blitzer as opposed to a fancy-pants food processor, I would suggest putting the asparagus stalks into a bowl with a tiny bit of the cream for moisture, and whizz it up til it’s good and creamy.  Then you can mix the stalks with the cream, garlic, and parmesan cheese.  Put it aside to cool.  At this stage, although it looks completely revolting, the sauce already tastes amazing.  Word.

Cook your pasta as the packet instructions tell you to do so.  While your pasta is cooking, re-heat the asparagus cream sauce gently on a very low heat.

Now it’s time for the asparagus tips.  Pop them into the pot with the boiling pasta for the last two minutes of the pasta cooking.  They’ll be perfectly cooked when you drain the pasta.  Put the cooked pasta and asparagus tips into a nice big bowl and pour in the asparagus cream sauce and mix it all about until all the pasta is drenched with the deliciously indulgent sauce.

You could put some parmesan shavings on the top, but the sauce is pretty cheesy already so all you gots to do is dish it up and eat.  And sure, have a glass of white wine in the early evening sunshine.  Why not?

proper-asparagus-pasta1

Much better than pints.

MP3

While I was cooking I was listening to this mix by XXXChange which Niall put up on his site today.  It’s totally rad.  XXXChange is a New York based producer/DJ.  Anything he touches turns into remix gold.  Legend.  This mixtape is packed full of goodies from times past.  It’s got The Stones and Isaac Hayes mixed up with Daniel Johnston and that track from Bellville RendezvousIt’s about half an hour long, so put it on while you’re cooking and enjoy!

XXXChange We Make it Good Mix Vol #4XXXChange (borrowed from nialler9 who heard about it via a cubikmusic tweet who may have found the mix here.  Share the love people!  That’s what it’s all about.)

Categories: Dinner Tags: ,

11 Comments

  1. Oh good lord that looks good! Honestly, I can’t think of anything I’d rather have right now … and if I wasn’t “the Diva on a diet” I would totally make this for dinner tonight! LOL

    I just joined twitter on Monday. I’ll look you up! :)

  2. Hey Diva – it was yum but again not very good for the thighs. I think this blog is going to make me go up a dress size or two. For now, I don’t mind. Talk to me in a few months when I can’t fit into my jeans. Then I’ll be all about the celery.

    You could probably make this recipe with creme fraiche instead of double cream and ….half fat parmesan?? That wouldn’t be too bad right?

    Holla at me on twitter! Although I might not reply as I’m not quite sure how to use it yet.

    Btw your latest soda bread looked yum. I am so with you on the kerrygold front. It’s all I ever use. Feck margarine! It’s rubbish. Bring on the buttter.

  3. I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing on twitter either. I can’t figure out if people can see my response when I respond to something?! Eh, I supposed we’ll get it worked out at some point … yet it feels like another chore in some ways. My sister in law loves it … though I’m not feeling the love just yet! LOL

    Feck margarine is right! Never touch the stuff – butter, and butter only for me. Kerrygold when possible. We have a nice organic butter over here made by Horizon that tastes as rich as Kerrygold, I use that too sometimes.

  4. I know exactly what you mean about the response thing on twitter! I think when you go to your home page you’ll see a @thedivaonadiet button and that should show you all your responses. I think. That is exactly the problem I had today though!

    Niall is an old hand at twitter so he’s helping me out a bit. I understand the idea of an on-line non-stop conversation and I really appreciate that, completely. I guess I’m just not sure how I can politely interrupt the conversation and throw in my two cents!

    We’ll live and learn. Just like those folks a few years back who were bad-mouthing butter. Oh, how they’ve all come crawling back :)

  5. Amen to the asparagus pasta. I see your asparagus pasta and raise you some crumbled bacon! I saw your tweet about beer on the Pav. I live in North Carolina–all I could think of is “why is that woman pouring beer on her Pavlova?!” Thanks for the clarification! lol I’m @jmfield over there, if you wanna follow back:) Love your blog; found you through @DailySpud :)

  6. Hey lady Pastry Chef! Beer and pavlova do NOT mix, you’re absolutely right. Thanks for the kind words and I will most certainly follow you back on twitter.

    Tweet!

    Sorry. Still getting used to it.

  7. Ooh that looks scrummy. I did Twitter for a while but I found it all a bit boring after a while (plus my 3G connection’s not always that good). Thanks for the linkage as usual, my lovely. xx

  8. Hey English Mum – you’re very welcome for the linkage. I’m going to stick with twitter for awhile and see how I get on! Have a good weekend x

  9. I swung back by this entry to grab another listen to that superb mix tape and I see you’ve been getting to know @jmfield. Jenni rocks – anything you want to know about baking, she’s your lady. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to get my head around the twitter thing – I’ll get there eventually!

  10. Aoife these all look so NOMMY Im going to start cooking properly again and stop leaving it all to paddy!!!

  11. Hey Spud – glad you like the mixtape, it is excellent. Once I get a new oven that will facilitate some baking I’ll definitely be checking out Jenni’s page more closely!

    Ciara – oh haaaaiii!! Glad you like the recipes, hope to see you and paddy soon!

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