Make a springtime culinary trip to Italy – try our delicious asparagus pasta

These three recipes will whisk you away on a culinary trip to the Mediterranean this spring. The tomato confit, asparagus pasta and almond tart are an easy trio to make and serve.

Marimekko Oiva plate in Terra
The asparagus pasta is a delicious seasonal dish. The Apilainen cotton-linen fabric and Oiva plate are by Marimekko and the Junto shakers by Normann Copenhagen.

MANY OF US are currently dreaming of a summer holiday: the warm cliffs and turquoise waters of southern Europe, the fragrance of jasmine on the evening breeze and, above all, pasta and cooled wine enjoyed in blissful idleness. Sadly, vacation trips seem like an uncertain dream now, but luckily, we can always travel on the wings of food and flavors.

The spring pasta with asparagus combines seasonal taste and delicious taste.

The spring pasta with asparagus combines not only seasonal ingredients and delicious taste, but observes the principles of no food waste as well: Parmesan cheese is often sprinkled on top of pasta, but seasoned bread crumbs are a brilliant replacement, easy to prepare from slightly dried bread. The important issue of less food waste is observed in all these recipes.

1. The oil from the tomato confit will keep in the fridge for months, tasty and seasoned, ready for use. It will solidify in the fridge but melt at room temperature in no time.

2. The whites from the eggs, of which yolks are used for the pasta, are an ideal ingredient for example in a breakfast omelet. Should any tomatoes be left over, they are great with the omelet as well.

3. The leftover woody asparagus stems can be used in a vegetable broth or risotto broth. They are very flavorful, even though they are not that nice to eat as such.

4. Do a spring clean-up in the freezer or fridge before the new season starts and serve berries and jams with the almond tart.

Try the recipes:

The Organic Company napkin
The tomato confit fills your kitchen with a beautiful aroma. The napkin is by The Organic Company and the ceramic Nature serving bowl by Sagaform.

Tomato confit & burrata (serves 4 as a starter)

Ingredients:
500 g cherry tomatoes
4 dl olive oil (1 1/2 cups)
1 whole garlic
3–4 bay leaves
salt and black pepper

Serve with:
2–3 balls of burrata or mozzarella bufala
fresh basil
toasted bread

Skagerak Coquo spoon
The wooden Coquo spoon is by Skagerak, and the Aino Aalto tumblers by Iittala.

Follow these steps:
Rinse and dry the cherry tomatoes. Spread them in an ovenproof dish and pour in the olive oil. Use a narrow dish to make the oil cover the tomatoes. Cut the whole garlic, with peel, in half and add to the cherry tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and black pepper. Roast the tomatoes at 150°C for about 45 minutes, until the lovely aroma of garlic fills your kitchen and the tomatoes are wrinkled and caramelized.

Let the tomatoes cool for a while and serve on a plate with torn basil, burrata or mozzarella bufala. You can also serve with bread to enjoy all the delicious oil and juices from the tomatoes. The cheese should be at room temperature and the bread preferably toasted.

Ferm Living Hale tea towel
The asparagus is quick and easy to cook. The Hale tea towel is by Ferm Living, the Extra Coarse grater by Microplane, and the Merci spoon by Serax.

Asparagus pasta with egg yolk (serves 4)

Ingredients:
500 g of pasta
1 bunch (à 400 g) of asparagus
4 organic eggs
1 lemon
2 dl breadcrumbs (1 cup)
2 tablespoons olive oil from the tomato confit
salt and black pepper

Marimekko Oiva plates in Terra
A yolk on the plate brings creaminess to the asparagus pasta. The Oiva plates in a beautiful earthy colour called Terra are by Marimekko.

Follow these steps:
Rinse the asparagus and click off the woody ends by bending the stalks. Peel the asparagus if necessary. Cut the asparagus into a couple of cm long pieces. Make rough crumbs of the dried bread, in a mortar, blender or by hand.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and season well with sea salt. Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir lightly to keep the pasta from sticking. In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the tomato confit olive oil (or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 grated clove of garlic) and add the breadcrumbs and the grated lemon zest. Fry until golden brown, season with salt and black pepper and put the crumbs in a bowl on the side. Wipe the pan lightly and add the asparagus and 1 dl of water. Allow the water to boil off and the asparagus to cook for about 3 minutes.

When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and put the pasta and the asparagus into the frying pan. Mix, season with lemon juice, salt and black pepper.

Dish out the pasta on plates, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and carefully place one egg yolk on each plate. Serve immediately.

The yolk on the plate brings creaminess to the asparagus pasta. You can sprinkle some salt flakes on top of the yolk and dip the asparagus pieces in it, or just mix it liberally with the pasta. If you don't like the idea of uncooked egg yolks, you can mix them with the hot pasta in the pot once you’ve taken it off the stove, like you would with a carbonara.

Tivoli Entry cups
Pair the almond-lemon tart with a good cup of coffee. The Entry cups are from Tivoli's collection, the Scandia coffee spoons by Iittala and the Edge jug by Skagerak.

Almond-lemon tart (serves 6–8)

Ingredients:
4 eggs
50 g butter
1 dl sugar (divided) (1/2 cup)
4.5 dl almond flour (2 cups)
1 grated lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
(a few drops of bitter almond aroma)

Serve with:
mascarpone, jam or berries

Kähler Kontur vases
Serve the almond tart with a spoonful of mascarpone cheese or a compote made of frozen berries. The vases are from Kähler's Kontur series.

Follow these steps:
Separate the egg yolks from the whites and melt the butter. Whisk the yolks and 1/2 dl sugar lightly. Add the melted butter and almond flour mixed with baking powder and lemon zest. If you wish, flavor with bitter almond aroma.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff and add 1/2 dl of sugar about halfway through. The eggs are done when the mixture is shiny and doesn’t fall from the bowl if turned upside down. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture and pour the batter into a greased pie tin. Bake at 180° C for 30 minutes and let cool.

Serve the almond tart with coffee and a spoonful of mascarpone. You can also serve with jam or a compote of frozen berries, which is easy to make by quickly boiling the berries with a pinch of sugar.

Set the table

Tivoli
Entry cup
Ferm Living
Hale tea towel
Marimekko
Oiva plate
Kay Bojesen
Menageri salt and pepper set
Iittala
Aino Aalto tumbler
Kähler
Kontur vase
Sagaform
Nature bowls
Iittala
Scandia cutlery
Suvi Kesäläinen

Design Stories contributor Suvi Kesäläinen is a photographer, who loves to create dishes that are not only delicious but also fast and easy to make. She’s passionate about the best seasonal ingredients, local food and intriguing culinary trends.

See also:

• All tableware at Finnish Design Shop >

Text and photos: Suvi Kesäläinen

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