Linguine, tossed with a buttery, creamy, Parmesan sauce; formed into a nest for a beautifully poached egg, with its rich, luscious yolk further dressing the pasta; interspersed with “twigs” of fresh, baby asparagus, this dish is reminiscent of the first signs of Spring.
For me, when thinking of the foods of Spring, the very first thing that comes to mind is asparagus. The thin, beautiful, tender shoots, once classified in the Lily family, are a sure sign that Spring is here. Charles Lamb (an English Essayist) once said, “Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts,” and isn’t that the essence of Spring? Gentle thoughts…
Unlike those globby jarred Alfredo sauces, a true Alfredo is simply butter and Parmesan cheese. I’ve added one of the Americanized ingredients found in Alfredo and that is cream. It is a wonderful accompaniment with pasta, of course; and it is delicious with asparagus.
Asparagus…oh, how I love thee! Not only is asparagus beautiful, and Spring-like, but it is absolutely packed with nutrition. Here’s a breakdown for you from Wikipedia:
Asparagus is low in calories and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fibre, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.
In other words, asparagus is good for you! Teamed with a perfect pouch of poached egg, the smooth yolk of which acts as a second “sauce” for the pasta, this is a really fabulous meatless meal.
Let’s talk about egg poaching for a second, because I know from experience that it seems difficult. As a matter of fact, it was just last year that I found the fail-proof method for poaching eggs. After having tried every tip, trick, and gadget made by man to poach an egg, I finally stumbled upon THE ONE that works. And it is really simple! You can read about it in my post about egg poaching here. So, don’t let a poached egg stop you from enjoying this remarkable repast (alliteration always – *wink*).
For this recipe, I actually made my poached eggs, one at a time, in the afternoon and held them in icy water, just as I mentioned in my post about poaching. You will want to ice bath your eggs, no matter when you make them, since that plunge into the icy water stops the cooking process and assures you of a perfectly poached egg.
After I plated the pasta and the asparagus, using a slotted spoon, I removed the poached eggs from their ice water bath, and dropped them back into hot water (nearly boiling, but not quite) for 15 seconds to reheat them. Using the slotted spoon, I removed them from the hot water and then added them to the top of the plated pasta.
If you poach your eggs while the pasta water is coming to a boil, and the pasta is cooking, this is easily a 30 minute meal, preparation time included.
For a delightful taste of Spring, make this pasta. That is all.
- 8 ounces Linguine, cooked according to package instructions for al dente
- Asparagus, I allowed 6 spears per serving
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup heavy cream (you could use half & half or milk)
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated (this is about an ounce)
- 4 large eggs, poached
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions for al dente.
- In the last one minute of cooking for the pasta, add the asparagus to the pasta water to poach.
- Drain pasta and asparagus.
- In the same hot pot or in a different large skillet (which makes for tossing the pasta easier), melt the butter, add the cream, salt and pepper, and ½ the Parmesan cheese.
- Add the pasta and asparagus to the pan with the butter, cream and Parmesan and toss to coat with the sauce.
- Remove the pasta with the asparagus to warm plates, creating a nest for the eggs.
- Reheat poached eggs for 15 seconds in hot (but not boiling) water and remove with a slotted spoon to the top of the pasta.
- Garnish with the remaining Parmesan cheese.