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started it all

May 08 2012 by Kristin at The Kitchen Sink in Pasta,Recipe » 11 comments

Shaved Asparagus & Bucatini

Last Friday night, I returned to Chicago after a three-week work trip.  To say that I was glad to be home would be an extreme understatement.  I missed my husband, my city, my kitchen, my food, my easy routines.  I spent the weekend reacquainting myself with all of these things, reveling in them and appreciating them all as though they were brand new.  The weather was pretty uncooperative, but that didn’t stop us from walking miles and visiting the farmers’ market (opening day in Lincoln Park!) and churning ice cream and sliding a bouquet of peonies into a mason jar.

Shaved Asparagus & Bucatini

It was a spring weekend to make up for the several that I had missed while I was away.

Shaved Asparagus & Bucatini

From the farmers’ market, we hauled home a couple of sacks, heavy with spring’s first produce: two bundles of asparagus, one with pencil thin spears and the other with spears about as fat as my index finger; slender stalks of deep-red rhubarb; a tuft of French breakfast radishes, begging to be swiped through good soft butter and sprinkled with coarse salt; spring onions, whose purple bulbs were so fragrant they stung my eyes; and a few handfuls of fingerling potatoes, just-dug if the wet dirt clinging to them was any indication.  We visited stalls we’ve visited year after year, and we searched in vain for the stall that normally turns out freshly-fried zeppole (fingers crossed that they’ll be back in coming weeks).

green city market, opening day

That night, we grilled steaks, which we topped with a spring onion chimichurri sauce, into which we also dunked the fingerlings that we had halved and roasted to blistering in the oven.  Grilled asparagus hit with lemon and spiked with chili flakes rounded out the plate.  Dessert was a strawberry-rhubarb crisp, capped with a scoop of vanilla-bourbon ice cream.  It was our first farmers’ market meal of the year, and it was the perfect welcome home.

Shaved Asparagus & Bucatini

Truth be told, I’ve been on an asparagus bender for weeks.  That grilled asparagus from Saturday night was only the latest installation.  This pasta—bucatini, tangled with spicy, lemony, garlicy, barely-cooked shaved asparagus and topped with freshly-toasted breadcrumbs—is what started it all.  I made it just before leaving town, and it haunted my cravings (so much for pickles-and-ice cream—if not for the bump, you might not think I was pregnant) while I was away.  I’ll be making it again soon, this time with a bundle from the farmers’ market.

Shaved Asparagus & Bucatini
Serves 4

2 thick slices hearty bread, torn into about 1-inch pieces
extra virgin olive oil
salt
1 pound bucatini
red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 bundles asparagus, shaved
1 lemon
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Pulse bread in food processor to make bread crumbs.  Spread the crumbs on a small baking tray.  Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt; toss.  Toast for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook bucatini until al dente.  Reserve a bit of the cooking water.

Just before the pasta finishes cooking, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet.  Add garlic and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about a minute.  Add asparagus and a pinch of salt; cook until the asparagus until slightly softened.  Add juice of the lemon.  Toss.

Add the cooked bucatini and parmesan to the skillet with the asparagus; toss to coat.  Add reserved cooking water a tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to achieve your desired consistency.  Serve, topped with toasted breadcrumbs.

11 comments so far. »
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  1. Rebecca says on May 08 2012 at 8:39 pm:

    Cute bump pic :) The rain we had on Saturday morning scared me away from the Green City Market… Should have gone though! That produce looks amazing!!!

  2. Anna @ the shady pine says on May 08 2012 at 10:25 pm:

    That asparagus looks absolutely perfect! Great looking produce all round.

  3. Rosa says on May 08 2012 at 10:41 pm:

    A delicious dish and combination!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. Magda says on May 09 2012 at 4:29 am:

    You look so beautiful in that photograph with the striped dress! Your bump is so cute :)

    I have also been in an asparagus bender for the past two weeks. In Holland the white asparagus is extremely popular and I have been devouring them with great enthusiasm.
    I’m going to try your pasta, I love the simplicity.

  5. shanna says on May 09 2012 at 10:50 am:

    Have been thinking about you in your cute little pregnant state lately and wondering how you’ve been. Nice to hear your voice here and nice to know you’re home and well. Excited for the months ahead for you!

  6. Karen says on May 09 2012 at 1:34 pm:

    Looks like a great simple dish! I’ve been wanting to incorporate 3 types of asparagus in one dish (white, green, purple) and maybe I’ll do it with this one! Or a shaved asparagus salad. Can’t get enough of it before it goes away. BTW, I loved Nina Planck’s “Real Food for Mother and Baby” when I was pregnant. Good, no nonsense advice that goes along nicely with your style of cooking. And making baby food is so fun! Deb at Smitten Kitchen has a great, but small, baby food section. Hope you get to relax and work a little less now!

  7. Hillary says on May 10 2012 at 12:21 am:

    Wow, I can’t help drooling. I just love the Shaved Asparagus & Bucatini
    Well done!
    If you submitted your Shaved Asparagus & Bucatini photos to http://www.foodporn.net , I’ll bet they will make you on the home page.
    Gosh, you have made me sooo hungry !

  8. Barbara says on May 14 2012 at 7:49 am:

    Love the shaved asparagus. Such a simple dish, fast and easy to put together. The touch of lemon is perfect. Love it, Kristin.

  9. kickpleat says on May 17 2012 at 10:29 am:

    I’m on an asparagus bender too! This looks so good. And yay, cute lil’ bump!!!

  10. kale says on May 20 2012 at 10:15 pm:

    I agree with the other comments; beautifully spontaneous and natural picture of ‘the bump’. Congrats!

  11. [...] of it yet, this pasta is the perfect segue from spring to summer.  I read about the idea first on The Kitchen Sink, a jumble of barely cooked shaved asparagus tossed with al dente bucatini and topped with crispy [...]

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