There’s something about asparagus and pork that’s very pleasant; remember how it’s lovely with bacon? (King’s Asparagus, Asparagus & Bacon Penne)
Inspired by Aglio Olio and the lovely pork and asparagus combination, here’s a quick spaghetti dish to whip up that’s sure to satisfy your craving for that saltish non-slurpy pasta.
- 1 portion quick cook spaghetti
- 2 pork sausages, skinned
- 6 stalks asparagus
- 1/4 yellow pepper, sliced
- 1 chilli, finely sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 handful fresh arugula
- 1 pinch dried basil
- 1 pinch dried oregano
- sea salt, freshly ground
- black pepper, freshly ground
- olive oil
- fresh Parmesan
- As always, first get your spaghetti into a pot of boiling water.
- Drizzle the wok with a little bit of olive oil, and toss in the sausages. Make sure the skin’s removed. Let it sizzle for a bit, so the fat gets rendered out.
- Then, in goes the garlic, fried till golden.
- Toss in the peppers and asparagus.
- Add the herbs and seasoning now, then stir about till the veggies are done. (Personally, I like my peppers and asparagus is little overdone, if you can get them be slightly charred, even better. The minute tang of bitterness will go a long way.)
- Your spaghetti should be about done now, if not already done. Drain and add to the wok.
- Mix everything together thoroughly.
- Dish it out onto a pretty plate, with a generous pinch of arugula atop.
- Using a speed peeler, strip a more than a couple of slices of Parmesan on.
- Drizzle a round of olive oil and serve. To yourself, of course.
Remember King’s Asparagus? We know from that meal that bacon and asparagus are a match made in heaven. Now, we’re gonna have it with pasta.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 streaks of smoked bacon, cut up into one-inch bits
- 3 large stalks of asparagus, sliced in half lengthways (Don’t be like me and forget to buy asparagus. I used dwarf beans instead. I am ashamed.)
- a quarter of a yellow pepper cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 handfuls of quick-cook penne
- 1 tsp of vegetable oil
- 1 small small knob of butter
- Cheddar, finely grated
- dried basil
- dried oregano
- sea salt, freshly ground
- black pepper, freshly ground
- chilli, minced (optional)
Here’s how you do it:
- Get the pasta cooking in a pot of boiling water.
- In a hot skillet with vegetable oil, toss in the bacon to render the fat out.
- Then, in goes the butter, garlic and asparagus.
- If you like spice, now’s the time to toss in the chilli.
- Fry till bacon browns and asparagus wilts slightly.
- Welcome the Aroma Fairies into your kitchen, they’ve missed you sorely.
- Season with basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Drain the pasta and mix it altogether in the skillet.
- Add more salt if necessary.
- Serve with an abundance of shaved Cheddar atop.
Don’t be like me and leave it in the hot oven after it’s done, thinking it would ‘keep warm’ that way. It got way overdone.
Anyway, using this pizza dough recipe, this is what goes on top:
- Thin slices of asparagus
- Slices of white mushrooms
- Shaved Parmesan
- Lemon Mayonnaise*
*This can be bought off the shelf, but I prefer making my own. Squeeze lemon juice into some mayonnaise; enough so that there is a refreshing zest of lemon goodness but not so much so it becomes a sour mess. Top the pizza with this after it’s been baked, using a squeezey bottle. If you don’t have one, use a ziplock bag, with a small corner snipped off. Have a good time making lovely patterns. Have a better time eating this pizza.
There are a couple of things that are absolutely necessary in a couscous dish, especially if you’re making one ‘cos you crave the rich flavour of the brilliant Mediterranean. Oregano and Cumin are essential. Unfortunately, I had a craving and had no cumin powder of any sort. But here are the ingredients I used to satisfy the craving as best as I could:
- Onions, preferably red.
- Mushrooms, just because.
- Balsamic vinegar, for ZING.
- Garlic, for wholesomeness.
- Parsley, for healthy colour.
- Oregano, essential.
- Sage, as a pathetic substitute for Cumin.
- Tomato puree, for lush redness.
Roasted root vegetables like aubergines or cucumbers would’ve been lovely. Bell peppers even. But I really had to make do with what I had in the fridge and great thing I had Asparagus and Greek Feta to save the day.
Talk about Fish & Chips, here’s a variation. I wouldn’t say it’s healthier or whatever, it’s just a lazier way you can get some fish and potato chips into your diet. (Of course, it involves more effort than simply popping over to the Fish & Chips store across the road.)
Pan-Fried Pollock & Chips
Together with the special appearance by Mr Mushrooms and Ms Asparagus, both the fish and chips are fried in a pan.
Season the less-than-inch-thick fish fillets with salt and pepper and place them gently onto a really hot pan. Let them sizzle away until you can see them getting increasingly cooked on the top. Turn them over for just 40 seconds or so, and remove.
I cut my potatoes to a quarter the size of a normal chip. This lets them cook faster, and they get crispier too. With butter, thyme, pepper and just a pinch of salt, be gastronomically prepared for some awesome hassle-free chips.
Fish and Potatoes are a great combination. Replace the chips with a mash, and make a white garlic sauce to bond the two. Squeeze the juice of a lemon and you’re ready to rock ‘n’ roll.
Asparagus and Bacon, were made for each other. Due to impatience and negligence, this didn’t turn out quite right for me. Follow the instructions below and I’m sure you’ll get a better result.
The beauty of this dish is that apart from the potato mash, no seasoning is required. I made a mash so that it’ll be a bigger meal. If you exclude the carbohydrate, it’s a breakfast fit for a king.
Here’s how to make your own Asparagus in Bacon & Egg Jacket.
- 3 streaks of bacon, halved lengthways
- 6 stalks of asparagus
- 2 large eggs
Asparagus in Bacon
Using the smoked bacon, wrap the sticks of asparagus. Grill in the oven at 200°C till brown and crispy, flipping them at midpoint. (They looked so good that I got impatient and hungry, so they didn’t make it to the slightly crispy and almost charred stage. I couldn’t do it, but you can.)
There’s a trick to getting them right even though you can’t see what’s going on inside. Stick a pot of water on the hob and get your eggs in. Make sure there’s enough water so that the eggs are completely submerged. Hit the switch to full whack. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and let the eggs soak for about 3 minutes. Flush them briefly with cold water and place them on those little egg holders, or shot-glasses would do. With the ‘sharper’ tip of the eggs pointing downwards, lop the tops off with a knife. Say hello to your golden yolks.
To consume, grab a stick of that pretty asparagus, with your fork or fingers, it doesn’t matter. Dunk it into the soft-boiled eggs and take a bite. Let the incredible nuttiness of asparagus mingle with the smokey aroma of bacon. Pay attention to the lush gooey texture of the egg, holding everything together. And just before you swallow, have a little wad of potato mash join the party.
Feel like a king yet?