Casarecce is one of my favourite pasta shapes that I often turn to instead of macaroni. This creamy sauce makes a star out of asparagus stalks.
400g thick or thin asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed (about 300g prepared weight)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthways
80g crème fraîche
25g freshly grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley leaves and fine stalks, plus extra, finely chopped, to serve
A fresh grating of nutmeg
350g casarecce pasta
150g cold-water prawns
- Cut off and reserve the asparagus tips, and thickly slice the remaining stalks. Drizzle 1 tbsp oil over the base of a small saucepan, scatter over the garlic and pile the sliced asparagus stalks on top. Add 100ml water, season and bring to the boil, then cover and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Tip the contents of the pan into a blender, add the crème fraîche, parmesan, parsley and a generous grating of nutmeg and whiz to a smooth, rich sauce the consistency of pouring cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Return this to the pan. Gently reheat to serve. (It can be made well in advance.)
- Bring a large and a small pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta to the large pan, give it a stir and cook according to the packet instructions until it is al dente. A few minutes before it is cooked add the asparagus tips to the small pan and cook for 2 minutes, then drain using a colander. Return to the pan and toss with the remaining 1 tbsp oil and some seasoning, then mix in the prawns and very gently warm through.
- Drain the pasta using a colander, return it to the pan, pour over the warm sauce and toss. Serve with the asparagus tips and prawns on top, scattered with extra parmesan, parsley and a drizzle of oil.
Recipes: Annie Bell. Photographs: Ellis Parrinder. Food styling: Lou Kenney. Styling: Charlie Phillips