Thursday, September 23, 2010

Creamy Spring Tagliatelle


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Spring is in the air here in the Southern hemisphere, and although we may not always think so, summer is on its way! With the changing seasons, I start to want more fresh veggies and less of the warm, yummy comfort foods I craved over winter. However, spring isn't without its ups and downs, so while we may have fresh spring veggies around, it sometimes feels decidedly colder than it should! Last night it was freezing, and I wanted something warm, but with a spring feel to it, to get me in the mood. Add to that my new amazing veggie box from The Ethical Co-op, and we were away!

This pasta was born from my ignorance in how to prepare asparagus. I've just started buying a weekly organic veggie box from The Ethical Co-op and in it I got a bunch of things I've never used before. You'll have noticed that I tend to stick to the same foods, although I prepare them differently. This is partly habit, and partly just what's available at my local shop. With the veggie box, I pay a flat fee, and get a mixed box of seasonal, organic veggies. I don't choose what goes in, so I'm forced to find a way to use what comes in the box. This last week, I got asparagus, Swiss chard and mangetout, along with some others, and I've never cooked with in my life! So google to the rescue, and I figured things out.. And boy, am I glad I did! This was fresh, tasty, creamy and delicious! I hope you like it..

Creamy Spring Tagliatelle
Serves 3

1 bunch of fine, early spring asparagus (about as much as you can hold in your hand, while your fingers can touch your thumb
1/2 a pack of mangetout (say, about 10)
4-6 leaves of Swiss chard, depending on size
1 onion, chopped finely
1 handful of cherry tomatoes
2 tsp minced garlic
Half a pack of tagliatelle
100-150ml cream (I use reduced fat, and it was fine)
Blue cheese (I cut 2 sides off a wedge)
Grated Parmesan (to taste)
Reserved pasta water
Salt and black pepper to taste
  1. If you have dried pasta, put that on to cook so long, as it'll be the thing that takes the longest.
  2. Prepare your asparagus and mangetout, but breaking off the woody/stalky ends, and breaking into pieces. This early season asparagus wasn't very woody at all, so I just broke off a centimeter or so, and the mangetout, I just broke off the stalk.
  3. Separate the tips of the asparagus, as they will not need as much cooking as the stalks.
  4. Slice the chard into more manageable pieces, and set all the greens aside.
  5. Slice the onion, and fry in a little oil on a medium pan, until the onion is soft, but not very coloured.
  6. Add the garlic, and stir, then add the cherry tomatoes. Fry for another couple of minutes.
  7. Add the cream, and allow to heat through, letting the cream thicken, and reduce a little. Add the blue cheese and Parmesan, and stir to melt.
  8. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving as much of the cooking liquid as possible.
  9. Put the asparagus stalks, chard and mangetout into a strainer or steamer and lower into the cooking water. 
  10. Cook for a minute, then add the asparagus tips, and cook for a further minute. Remove from the water, but don't throw the water away yet.
  11. Add the cooked greens to the onion and cream mixture, and stir to mix.
  12. Add the tagliatelle to the same pot, and stir, mixing it into the cream and veggies. If there is not enough liquid, spoon some over from the pasta pot. The starch from the cooked pasta will help make a lovely, silky, creamy sauce for the pasta.
Serve in a bowl, with plenty of cracked, black pepper and Parmesan cheese!

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  1. Yumness! Sounds spring-y indeed and of course you just had to add in some cheesy goodness. Nice. :-)

  2. I love how all the meals are getting slightly lighter with the emphasis on slightly of course.
    Have a good weekend!


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