In this recipe, strands of pasta and spears of asparagus are cloaked in an almost effortless sauce formed from a simple fried egg.
The original recipe called for roast asparagus spears. But their intense flavor and unique texture were a little lost in this dish. So in an effort to minimize cooking time and pans to clean, we cooked the spears on the stovetop, in the same pot we were already using. The result is still terrific.
- About 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
- 6 to 8 ounces pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Shaved or grated pecorino cheese or freshly toasted bread crumbs, for sprinkling
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
If the asparagus spears are thick, cut each in half lengthwise. Cut the asparagus on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Add them to the boiling water and cook just until bright green but not quite tender, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus to a towel and pat dry.
Add the pasta to the water and cook according to package directions.
Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until hot but not smoking. Add the asparagus and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Transfer the asparagus and oil to a large bowl.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and heat until hot. Crack the eggs in the skillet and cook, without turning, just until the whites are barely firm and the yolks are still runny.
Drain the pasta, add it to the asparagus with salt and plenty of pepper, and toss to coat. Divide the mixture between 2 plates; place 1 egg on top of each plate and sprinkle with cheese and/or bread crumbs. Instruct each diner to immediately cut into the egg and gently stir the mixture on the plate, allowing the yolk to coat the pasta and asparagus.
From "Four Seasons Pasta" by Janet Fletcher (Chronicle, 2004).
Tested by Renee Schettler.
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