|Happy Spaghetti sauce :)|
Wild asparagus is a fantastic plant. It's a spiky, prickly bush with needle like leaves, and to the untrained (read: mine, until this weekend) eye, looks NOTHING like Asparagus. Until springtime. It then sends new shoots out, and this is what you need to look for! They are the typical "asparagus" look. Simply snap them off and nomnom! asparagus time! I had no idea that the ubiquitous plant that seems to be EVERYWHERE in Malta was actually Asparagus, and it certainly was a wonderful discovery, especially as since then, I seem to find it wherever I look!
|Hard to believe this is what asparagus looks like right? you only eat the new shoots, this plant is too late for that!|
|Wild asparagus shoots aren't as thick as store bought, but the flavour is so lovely, intense and FRESH! Wild chard, delicious and tender when cooked :)|
|Fresh garlic. Nothing like it at all :D so good!|
Having collected a decent amount, but still not much (remember that any green leafy vegetable shrinks considerably with cooking) so I decided to make a pasta sauce with them. On the way home I bought some fresh garlic and remembered that I had some delicious home made proper (i.e. ewe's milk) gbejniet in the fridge, as well as some beautiful organically grown Greek Olive oil.
|Note the smooth looking slices. This is a well made ewes milk unpasteurised gbejna.|
Ok, you will need:
Some greens (in this case, I used Chard, but you can use spinach, kale, beetroot leaves, kohl rabi leaves, any green leafy veggie that can be cooked)
Asparagus (I used wild, but you could use store bought), chopped into 2-3 inch pieces
Garlic (I used fresh garlic bulbs, but you can use regular garlic)
Any fresh herbs you might have running around - parsley, basil and thyme are my favourites at this point!
A semi hard Goat/sheep cheese (I used traditional Maltese sheep peppered gbejna but you can use pretty much any cheese you like)
About 100g of pasta per person (i use wholemeal). I would always choose spaghetti but you can have any shape at all with this sauce.
Put the pasta water on to boil.
While the water is coming to a boil, chop the leaves into decent sized pieces (remember they will shrink considerably, so just tearing them in half should do the trick), chop the garlic, slice the cheese and the asparagus.
As soon as you've thrown the pasta into the boiling water (remember to salt the water WELL, around a tablespoon of rock salt should do it), Add the garlic to a fry pan with some olive oil. Try and use a fry pan that will take all the pasta in, as you'll need to add it into the sauce.
|Nothing quite like fresh garlic stems|
Add a ladle full of the pasta water into the sauce, and simmer for a minute. Season to taste and add the roughly chopped fresh herbs. The sauce is now done.
Cook the pasta for 2 minutes LESS than the directions, and when draining, reserve about a cup of the liquid. Add the pasta to the frying pan, with some of the liquid, and keep tossing until the liquid is absorbed, and the pasta is cooked. Add more water if necessary, but don't add the whole amount in one go just in case it's too much. This will help the pasta absorb the flavour of the really simply but lovely sauce.
|Before the addition of the cheese|
|Ready to nomnom!|