Messicani pasta with asparagus and pea purée

IMG_4953Pea purée

  • 300 g of frozen peas (petit pois)
  • 200 ml water, boiling
  • 1/3 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone cream cheese (or a drizzle of double cream)
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zested
  • Salt and pepper

Asparagus and pasta

  • 100 g broad beans (podded or frozen)
  • 400 g asparagus
  • 320 g Messicani pasta (any pasta is fine, but these ‘little thimbles’ really cup the pea sauce)
  • Flat leaf parsley, half pack, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Blitz the frozen peas, water and sugar in a blender set at a low speed. Slowly increase the speed to maximum, stirring occasionally. Leave to blend for 1 minute, then pass through a fine sieve. Season to taste. Pour into a small saucepan with the mascarpone (or cream) and lemon zest, ready to reheat and serve.
  2. Cook the broad beans in boiling water for 1 minute, drain, and refresh in ice-cold water. Once cold, drain and pop off the outer pod from each bean set aside.
  3. Snap the woody bases off the asparagus and discard. Cut the stems into 4 cm lengths, reserving the tips. Cook in salted boiling water for 1-2 mins, depending on the thickness of the asparagus (put the tips in a little later as they cook quicker). Drain, refresh in ice-cold water, then add to the broad beans and lemon zest.
  4. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to the packet instructions. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan, along with the cooking liquid, a splash of olive oil, half the broad bean and asparagus mix and half the chopped parsley.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, gently reheat the pea purée, taste again for seasoning and set aside in a warm place.
  6. When the pasta is ready, divide the pea purée between four plates, making a round bed in the centre of each. Pile the pasta in the centre of each, then finish with the rest of the asparagus and broad beans. Add a last grind of salt and pepper, scatter the rest of the parsley over the top, and grate over some parmesan cheese.

 

IMG_3175
Fresh, English asparagus

Alternatives

For fish/meat eaters, top with crispy pancetta (bake in the oven at 180 C for 15 minutes, between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper, and under a heavy tin to keep the pancetta flat) or a fillet of sea bass.

Consider using fresh mint instead of parsley.

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