Pasta Con Asparagi Recipe

When a new season is upon us, those aligned in the Italian tradition of cooking tend to whip up a plate of pasta con asparagi, a traditional dish that is made all the more impressive by its simplicity in preparation, flavor, and intoxication of both flavor and aroma, and thanks to this delicious recipe from the Food 52 recipe blog, you can enjoy a bowl yourself.

Ingredients for Pasta Con Asparagi:

  • 1 ½ pound of fresh asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of canned Italian plum tomatoes (grated coarsely or put through a sieve)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil (finely chopped)
  • ¾ pounds of penne, rigatoni, or other “tubular” pasta
  • 2 eggs plus one additional yolk, (beaten)
  • ½ cup of parmesan (freshly grated)

Directions for Pasta Con Asparagi

  1. In order to properly start this recipe, you should prepare all ingredients ahead of time and have them laid out, ready to cook, as this recipe requires somewhat meticulous timing. Have your herbs finely chopped, cheese grated, and eggs beaten with a fork; that way you’re setting yourself up for success. Once this is done, bring approximately 3 quarts of water to a hardy boil for the pasta.
  2. Next, put your asparagus into lengthy strips of about 2 inches long. If your stalks are particularly thick, you can cut them in half or quarters, though you should keep the tips intact.
  3. Heat your butter in a large, deep skillet that’s been placed on medium heat, and then add in your asparagus pieces. Season the asparagus with salt and pepper, and cook them for 4-5 minutes or until they are crisp-tender and lightly browned. Once cooked, transfer them to a plate, and reserve them for later. Consider placing a container top over the plate to trap some heat with the vegetables.
  4. In the same pan, add your olive oil and garlic cloves. Cook until the full cloves are lightly-browned and then remove and discard the garlic.
  5. Next, add the tomatoes, parsley, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and then cook the tomatoes and herbs for about 10 minutes while stirring throughout.
  6. Add your pasta and a pinch of salt to the boiling pot of water and cook for about 7 minutes when it returns to a boil after adding the pasta. Keep a watchful eye on the pasta and remove the pot from the burner once the pasta is tender, so as to not overcook this staple of the meal.
  7. Just before your pasta is done cooking, turn off the heat under the skillet with the tomatoes, and add your beaten eggs. Stir them vigorously to blend them while keeping them from curdling. Continue to keep a watchful eye, and do your best to not boil the sauce after the eggs are added. If you’re nervous about curdling the eggs at this stage, you can instead temper them by stirring a ladle of the hot tomato sauce into the eggs and then whisking the mixture back into the pan.
  8. At this point you can add your asparagus to the tomato sauce, stirring the pieces in the sauce to blend them together.
  9. Once cooked, drain the pasta immediately, add the tomato sauce and asparagus, and toss it all with half of your cheese. Serve a helping on a plate while it’s hot and with the remaining cheese on the side. Enjoy!

This Food 52 recipe is a slight adaptation from the acclaimed restaurant critic and food journalist Craig Claiborne. Originally appearing in his The New New York Times Cookbook (1979), this harmonious recipe combines the best elements of the more celebrated pasta sauces, most notably asparagus, carbonara, and tomato.

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Lasagna Bolognese Recipe

One of the best Italian dishes to perfect and keep in your back pocket is a hearty bolognese sauce, and if you’re even in need of a more-filling dish that incorporates that Italian classic, then look no further than Food52’s delicious recipefor an expertly-crafted lasagna bolognese dish.

Ingredients for the lasagna bolognese sauce

5 fresh basil leaves

⅔ cup of extra virgin Italian olive oil

3 cloves of garlic (2 peeled and smashed; 1 finely-chopped)

2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper (optional)

8 cups of crushed tomatoes

2 cups of water

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped basil

1 small onion (finely-chopped)

¼ pound of pancetta (finely-chopped)

1 pound organic ground beef (93% lean)

½ cup of nice red wine

1 bay leaf

½ cup of mascarpone cheese

Ingredients for lasagna bolognese

4 cups of bolognese sauce

¼ cup of butter

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

3 cups organic dairy milk (warmed)

9 sheets of lasagna (typically one package)

2 cups grated Parmigiano cheese (half grated)

Fresh mozzarella (sliced)


  1. When beginning the bolognese (red) sauce, combine your olive oil, basil leaves, and garlic in a small saucepan. If you prefer a spicy sauce, this is when you can add the crushed red pepper flakes. Let the saucepan simmer on very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. This process is known as steeping, and it allows the olive oil to become quite fragrant. Be careful that the garlic inside the pot is toasted brown and not black; once it is, remove it from the heat and strain the aromatics, saving your olive oil, setting it aside.
  2. Either in a Dutch Oven or large pot, pour in your tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Afterward, pour in your remaining olive oil into the sauce and mix it together to combine. Bring it to a boil and immediately reduce it to a simmer. Partially cover the pot, allowing the sauce to simmer for at least 45 minutes and at maximum 2 hours. As accomplished chefs can attest, the longer it cooks, the better the final product tastes.
  3. Though this recipe yields approximately 8 cups, you’ll only need 4 to make the actual bolognese. To make it, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and brown your pancetta until it’s crisp. Add in your onion and garlic, maintain a low heat, and cook until the onions and garlic are translucent. During this step, keep a watchful eye and be sure not to brown them.
  4. Now, increase your heat to medium-high and add the ground beef. Break the pieces apart with the sides of awooden cooking spoon, incorporating the onions and garlic as you do so. Allow the meat to brown until it’s almost cooked through and all the excess liquid has evaporated.
  5. Using your small amount of red wine, deglaze the pan and let the pan cook until the m is aromatic and the wine is reduced by half. Afterward, add 4 cups of red sauce and your bay leaf to the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover it. Simmer this for 1 ½ hours until the sauce has become very thick. After 90 minutes, remove the sauce from the heat, add mascarpone cheese, and mix it all together to melt it completely and create a slightly pink hue.
  6. When making your lasagna, preheat the oven to 350°F as you make your “besciamella sauce.” In a large pot, melt your butter and then add flour, whisking until a light brown roux forms. Slowly add your warmed milk afterward and whisk the mixture constantly until you create a thick sauce that is able to coat the back of a spoon. Add 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to the sauce, and then gently combine it with the bolognese sauce.
  7. In a large lasagna pan (suggested size is 9 x 13-inch), add a single layer of your sauce, followed by 3 lasagna sheets. Cover the layers with more meat sauce, and continue this process until all sheets are used. The top layer should be a very thick layer of sauce. Grate additional Parmigiano on top, cover with foil, and bake it in the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Afterward, you have the option to add some fresh mozzarella and place it under the broiler for an additional five minutes or simply sprinkle some more Parmigiano on top before serving.

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