Every week the outdoor food markets have several small asparagus growers who have set up their worn and battered trestle tables which are overflowing with green asparagus, ranging in size from delicate, pencil thin to sturdy, felt-tip marker fat.
Of course, I can't resist.
At least a kilo makes it into my shopping basket every week.
My latest asparagus recipe search led me to an interesting looking pasta recipe that incorporated sautéed hazelnuts - of which I have tons of in the freezer. (last time I found them for a decent price I bought a giant bag)
I adapted it to my tastes and the result was a rich, creamy and fresh tasting dish.
hazelnuts toasting in butter
a beautiful melange of fresh asparagus, onion, garlic and petit pois
Asparagus and Hazelnut Pasta
1 pound pasta - I used penne
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup frozen petit pois - I love them so I used a lot, you could use just ½ cup
½ cup dry, white wine
4 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, minced
¼ cup Pecorino-Romano cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup hazelnuts, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onion and asparagus and sauté over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
Add the garlic and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes, until the onion just lightly browned.
Meanwhile, in another pan, preferably nonstick, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the hazelnuts to the melted butter and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the peas to the onion and asparagus, and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the wine to the onion and asparagus mixture and bring to a boil.
Cook the wine for 2 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook pasta according to package directions, until just al dente. Drain the cooked pasta and place in a large serving bowl.
Add the cooked onion and asparagus mixture and toss everything together.
Add the parsley, cheese, and hazelnuts.
Season with salt and black pepper, and mix well.
the finished dish