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Pasta with Sausages and Asparagus

Pasta with Sausages and Asparagus

Spring is when you will see Italians walking, very slowly, along quiet country paths and roads - usually carrying a large stick in case they meet i viperi - and never lifting their eyes from the ground around them. They’re looking for wild asparagus and a favourite dish around this time is Pasta con Salsiccie e Asparagi. It is a beautifully simple and very tasty dish. 

To make this, you will need:

  • 250g strozzapreti pasta (you can use whatever pasta you have to hand - I have seen it served with fettuccine and penne rigate)

  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped

  • 300g Italian sausage, skinned and crumbled

  • 75 ml white wine

  • 500g young asparagus

  • 50g grated Parmesan

  • Half a teaspoon chilli flakes

  • 200 ml cream (optional)

  • Salt and pepper

  • Olive oil

  1. Prepare the asparagus by bending the spear until it snaps at the woody end - this will usually be about a third of the way up. Discard the woody end. Cut the remaining pieces into three or four, reserving the tips.

  2. In a frying pan, gently fry the onion over a low heat until soft. Add the crumbled sausage meat and chilli flakes and cook over a low heat for a few minutes. Add the white wine, a pinch of salt, and pepper and continue cooking over a low heat until the sausage is cooked through - about 20 minutes.

  3. In the meantime, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the chopped asparagus stems for a few minutes until softened. Drain the asparagus, reserving the water to cook the pasta in, and add the asparagus to the sausage meat. Stir through the cream, taking care not to let the mixture boil while you prep the pasta.

  4. Bring a pan of the reserved salted asparagus water (top it up if you need to) to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions. Add the reserved asparagus tips to the pasta for the last two minutes of cooking time. Reserve a spoon or two of the pasta cooking liquid and add this to the sausage mixture. 

  5. Drain the pasta and asparagus tips and add straight into the sausage mix, along with the grated Parmesan and stir until the pasta is coated. Check the seasoning and serve immediately.

A Chianti Classico from Casaloste, with its light acidity and tannins, will complement this dish perfectly. 

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