We finally have an abundance of Quebec asparagus. I realize it’s summer, but the asparagus crop available to us up until about 3 weeks ago was mainly from our neighbour down south, the USA. Our season for local produce comes a little later than usual because of our colder climate. The farmers’ markets and grocers’ are now inundated with our own local fare. And how beautiful they are! Thin asparagus, thick ones, even wild, wispy asparagus sold right out of the back-end of a truck. We love asparagus in our household. Steamed and served cold as a salad, drizzled with olive oil and lemon. Roasted in the oven with olive oil. And our all-time favourite, marinated with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and then thrown onto the barbie.
A few weeks ago I came home with 2 large bunches of asparagus. I grilled them all on the barbie, thinking of the left-overs which I would add to some sandwiches, along with some aged cheddar and sliced pears. We were in the country at the time and burgers were on the menu. I was saving my asparagus for last. I managed to pop 2 or 3 spears into my mouth as I left the kitchen. When I returned 20 minutes later for my serving of asparagus, they were gone! I called out to hubby, “Where did you put the asparagus?”. “I ate them,” he called back. To which I replied, “You ate them ALL? Well, you better make sure to flush when you go to the loo!”.
Pasta with Asparagus
2 bunches of asparagus
1 package (1 lb/450 g) of pasta of your choice, I used Fusili
Extra Virgin olive Oil
Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 cup grated, plus more for serving
This really is a dish which allows you to adjust the seasonings to your own taste. Begin by removing the tough stem-ends of the asparagus. Chop them into 1 or 1 1/2 inch pieces. Steam them in a double boiler for about 4 minutes. I enjoy a slight crunch to my asparagus. You can also boil them for the same amount of time. Drain and set aside.
Bring some salted water to boil in a large pot and cook the pasta. As it cooks, zest 1 lemon and set aside. Juice the 2 lemons. Grate some Parmigiano Reggiano. I used about 1 cup, but you can adjust the amount to suit your own taste.
When the pasta is done, or al dente, drain and pour into a large bowl. Drizzle the pasta with extra virgin olive oil, about 3 or 4 tablespoons. Add the cooked asparagus, lemon zest, 1/2 of the lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt. Add the Parmesan cheese and give it a stir. Taste for salt and lemon. If you like it a little more lemony, add the rest of the juice. I usually add about 1/2, and then another little drizzle. I like to add some Parmesan shavings, just because we LOVE it! Serve and enjoy!