Ahhhh... Asparagus season... it must mean it's time for my favourite Easy Vegan Lemon Asparagus Pasta!
Each year I eagerly await for local asparagus to appear in the market, succumbing to the lure of ridiculously overpriced bunches of the first spears, which I eat simply grilled or steamed. I might eat it with some wild garlic made into pesto which obligingly also comes into season at the same time.
Once my initial fervour for eating asparagus very simply & reverently wears off, I want to incorporate it into other dishes too. This easy, zingy lemon and asparagus pasta dish is a perfect vehicle to show off the sweet grassiness of the asparagus spears, whilst being speedy enough for a mid-week supper, yet elegant enough to serve for a Saturday lunch.
In fact- this recipe is inspired by my friend Raffaella who served a similar dish when we visited her & her partner Steve for lunch a few weekends ago. What she served us reminded me so much of a much loved recipe that I used to make back when I first learnt to cook, one that I had inexplicably forgotten about , that I had to run home to make it again. My recipe has capers in it- which I love for an extra salty hit, Raffaella's was just as good without. Either way, the magic is made with plenty of good quality olive oil, garlic and fresh lemon juice. Somehow they combine to make the most delicious and light sauce that perfectly offsets fresh green asparagus.
So - this recipe is a tribute to Raffa, a throwback to my first cooking efforts and a love affair with asparagus and lemons.
Easy Lemony Asparagus Pasta
- 200 g spaghetti more if you're hungry. I allow 100g per person
- 200 g asparagus one bunch from the market!
- ½ lemon, juice & zest (use the whole lemon zest if you like it extra lemony!)
- 50 g capers
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil plus more to drizzle
- salt & pepper to taste
- Bring the pasta water to the boil & cook the pasta as per the instructions.
- Meanwhile, slice the garlic & snap the woody ends off the asparagus
- Finely slice the the ends of the asparagus, leaving 2-3 inches of the tip to serve on top of the pasta
- In a pan, gently fry the garlic until translucent. Add the capers and fry for a minute
- Add the asparagus & white wine & gently cook for another 2-3 minutes
- Finally, season and add the zest and juice of the lemon
- Remove the tips of the asparagus from the pan & set aside for a moment.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain, reserving a ⅓ cup of the cooking water
- Mix the pasta with the lemony asparagus & capers mixture. Add a little of the pasta cooking water.
- Season with salt & pepper and add a little more lemon juice or olive oil if you like
- To serve, pile the pasta in a bowl, and top with the asparagus tips.