Griddled Asparagus with Spinach Tagliatelle & Watercress Pesto

Try early white asparagus in this recipe for a different colour. You can usually buy it at the markets seasonally.

  • Serves 2

  • Preparation 5 mins

  • Cooking 1 hr

Griddled Asparagus with Spinach Tagliatelle & Watercress Pesto
  • Nut-Free

Ingredients

For the pesto
  • 1 small bag watercress
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Seasoning to taste
  • 50g Italian-style vegetarian hard cheese
For the Tagliatelle
  • 50g frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 100g 00 pasta flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
To serve
  • 4 stalks asparagus, griddled

Method

  1. First make the pesto: Simply process all the ingredients together in a small food processor. Set aside.
  2. Squeeze as much water out of the frozen spinach as possible using a sieve. Once drained, add to the egg.
  3. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well and pour in the egg and oil. Use a fork to gradually draw the flour into the eggs. Work until a fine, even crumb is formed.
  4. Draw the breadcrumbs into a dough then knead it for 5-10 minutes until smooth, silky and springy. Use more flour for dusting the worktop when kneading because it is a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. To roll out the pasta: Take a third of the dough at a time and set the plain rollers to the widest width. Pass the dough through the rollers (use flour if its sticking). Collect the dough at the other side and pass it through again. Reduce the width setting gradually as the dough becomes thinner.
  6. Place the pasta on a pasta tree to dry.
  7. Use the pasta machine attachment to cut the pasta into tagliatelle, toss them in semolina, making sure they are separated. If you are not going to cook them immediately, cover in cling film and refrigerate until needed.
  8. To cook the pasta: Allow 1 litre of water to each 100g pasta, use a large pan and 1 tsp salt. Bring to boil, add pasta and have a quick stir with a wooden spoon. Fresh pasta will take only 3-4 minutes to cook.
  9. Cook the asparagus: Heat a griddle pan up and add a splash of olive oil. Griddle the asparagus on both sides until nice and charred.
  10. Serve the pasta bound in the pesto and asparagus on top.

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