Liguria may be famous for its beautiful landscapes that enchanted no lesser characters than Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, but it does not stop there – it is also one of the most culinary rich places I ever visited.
Upon my last visit, some of the rather unique pastas of the place captured my curiosity; croxetti – a round embossed pasta – ranging amongst those that I just had to bring home.
And when I now found some wild asparagus on the market, I thought they might go together rather well…
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 tablespoon of pine nuts
- 200 grams of croxetti (aka corzetti, a type of Ligurian stamped pasta)
- 1/2 teaspoon of Cervia or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 bunch of wild asparagus
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
- squeeze of lemon
- 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese
- freshly ground pepper, salt
- 2 tablespoons of ground parmesan
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh parsley
- Roast the pine nuts in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat for approximately five minutes, toss occasionally. Then set aside.
- Bring approximately 1 litre of water and the Cervia salt (or sea salt) to the boil.
- In the meantime, melt the butter over medium to low heat in a non-stick frying pan.
- Tip the croxetti into the boiling water and boil until al dente (usually 8-10 minutes).
- While the pasta is boiling, fry the wild asparagus – sugar added – in the butter; season it with freshly ground pepper and salt. Toss frequently.
- After approximately five minutes, add a squeeze of lemon and the ricotta cheese and toss until well mixed. Finally (shortly before serving), add the freshly ground parsley.
- When al dente, strain the pasta and distribute to pre-warmed dishes.
- Decorate the wild asparagus on top. Sprinkle with ground parmesan and the roasted pine nuts. Season with some more freshly ground pepper to taste.