This rich & creamy asparagus carbonara uses fresh, seasonal veggies and savoury sun-dried tomatoes to make a gorgeous vegetarian pasta dinner.
When life gives you asparagus…
My daughter Kipper and I had been enjoying choosing new plants at the garden centre. On the way out, we spotted bunches of fresh local asparagus by the checkouts, and, well, we couldn’t resist! I’m pleased to say that my daughter has inherited DH and my love of fresh, seasonal British asparagus, so a big bunch was a sure-fire winner all round.
However, by the time we’d got home, unloaded the plants, played in the garden, read the book she’d brought home from school, and generally got our act together, there wasn’t a lot of time left to make dinner. Fortunately quick and asparagus are two words that go together well.
And pasta. Pasta’s quick, too.
In the 11 minutes that it took the spaghetti to boil, I chopped and sautéed, grated and whisked. Then, I drained, mixed, and served. It was a brief but slightly frantic effort, but had it paid off?
The proof of the pasta…
Coated in rich, glossy sauce, with crisp and flavourful asparagus in every bite, and a deep savoury note from the sun-dried tomatoes, I think I can say my few minutes as a kitchen dervish was worth it! Everyone agreed that this asparagus carbonara was delicious.
We also agreed that the super-skinny asparagus was just the best for this dish – delightfully crisp and with a gorgeous fresh flavour. Thick spears just wouldn’t have been so good.
A quick word about carbonara – in its traditional incarnation, it’s completely treif (not kosher) because along with the eggs and pasta go pieces of crispy fried bacon. I have no idea what that tastes like, but I imagine that the bacon adds a salty, savoury note which is replaced here to some extent by the sun dried tomatoes. I don’t suppose they taste anything like bacon, but I do think this vegetarian/kosher carbonara stands up as a delicious dish in its own right.
Wonderfully savoury, fresh, summery pasta. Grind over some black pepper if you fancy and tuck in.
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Asparagus and sun dried tomato carbonara
- 150-200 g spaghetti
- 450-500 g fine asparagus spears
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 egg
- 50 g grated parmesan or equivalent hard cheese
- Cook the spaghetti in boiling water according to the instructions on the packet.
- Meanwhile, trim the asparagus spears, wash, and cut into 3-4cm lengths. Set aside.
- Finely chop the sun dried tomatoes.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes and the garlic, and fry, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the asparagus and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes until the asparagus is cooked. Remove from the heat.
- In a large bowl, beat together the egg and the grated parmesan.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain well, then add to the egg mixture with the asparagus and sun dried tomatoes. Toss everything together thoroughly to ensure that the spaghetti and vegetables are coated in the egg/cheese sauce.
- Serve immediately!
I’m linking this recipe up with Meat Free Mondays over on Tinned Tomatoes, Pasta Please, hosted by Thinly Spread and co-organised by Tinned Tomatoes, and Eat Your Greens, hosted by the VegHog.
I’m also joining in with CookBlogShare, and TastyTuesdays.