Nigel Slater’s recipe for linguine with asparagus

Bring a large, deep pan of salted water to the boil. Finely chop 2 tbsp of fresh mint leaves, grate 35g of pecorino or parmesan cheese, and finely grate the zest from 1 lemon. Set all aside.

Thinly slice 4 spring onions. Warm 4 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet, then add the sliced spring onions and let them cook for 5 minutes or so until they start to soften. Tear 50g of wild garlic leaves into small pieces and add them to the softened spring onions.

Generously salt the boiling water, then add 200g of linguine.

While the pasta is cooking, trim 12 spears of asparagus and cut them into short lengths, about 10cm long.

Add the asparagus to the spring onions, cover with a lid and continue cooking over a moderate heat, with the occasional stir.

Drain the linguine as soon as it is tender but firm (usually about 7 minutes) keeping back around 50ml of the pasta’s cooking water.

Stir the linguine into the onion and asparagus, add the grated pecorino or parmesan followed by the cooking water and the lemon zest and mint.

Divide between 2 plates. Enough for 2

The asparagus will cook more quickly if you cover the pan with a lid, allowing it to tenderise in its own steam.

This is a fine recipe in which to use long-stemmed broccoli. The cooking time is pretty much the same.

No garlic leaves? Then leave them out of the recipe – the dish is still very good – or, instead, use a small clove of garlic, very finely sliced and fried with the spring onions.

Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater

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