Here in Germany, people go crazy over asparagus or Spargel as they call it. When spring hits, it’s just about everywhere you look – on every restaurant menu, in every supermarket and even little street vendors are selling it by the bag full. Mostly it’s the white variety, which I have to admit had never seen before, but you can also find green asparagus about too. Unlike elsewhere in the world, once asparagus season is done with here, there is no more asparagus to be had. So in the spring, I make the most of it while it lasts!
One of the best ways to use asparagus is in pasta as the fresh taste really compliments noodles of all sorts. I’ve also added roasted hazelnuts to give some crunch and depth. I’ve always thought that hazelnuts were only associated with sweet things, but after our last trip to Italy I’ve been loving them in savory dishes too. The Piemonte region of Italy is known for their hazelnuts. It’s actually the home of Ferrero and the famous Nutella and Ferrero Rochers. But it is also home to many savory dishes with this little nut. Roasting them really brings out the flavor which pairs well with lemon and the asparagus.
Make sure you give this a try while the asparagus is still in season. The whole meal is so quick to whip up and lovely and light. Easy enough for a weekday dinner when you just want to be outside enjoying the beautiful sun!
Spring Asparagus & Roasted Hazelnut Tagliatelle
- about 150g green asparagus, cut on a strong diagonal
- 300g dry tagliatelle
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup lightly roasted hazelnuts, halved
- zest of one lemon
- handful of chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
- freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Once ready, blanch the asparagus for about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a cold bath.
Bring the water back to the boil and add the tagliatelle. Cook according to the package directions.
Once the tagliatelle is almost done cooking, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the hazelnuts and drained asparagus and cook till warmed through. With a set of tongs, remove the tagliatelle from the stock pot and into the saucepan. It’s ok if a little water gets in, it will help with the sauce. Add in the lemon zest, parsley and parmigiano reggiano and toss to coat. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Garnish with some fresh parsley if desired.