Saturday, 21 April 2012

Angels and Devils

Capelli Degli Angelli con Zafferano, Limone & Asparagi Selvaggi
Angels Hair Spaghetti with Saffron, Lemon and Wild Asparagus

At the moment, you can't see the forest for the asparagus over here in Germany! It is everywhere! Mostly, of course, it is the white asparagus that the Germans love and there are stalls selling it on every street-corner, or so it seems! For some reason, people here tend to prefer it to the green... but maybe, with this beautiful WILD green asparagus, I can manage to change a few of their minds...

I saw this at the market hall today and just had to have it! So fine and tender! I have it on good authority (howdy Stephen ;-) ), that this type of asparagus is easy to come by... in which case I envy you! It is quite the rarity here and was a little bit pricey- but was well worth it for its intense and rich flavor! Just delicious!

To make this unbelievably quick dish, you will need to prepare your saffron to flavor the pasta in advance. It does take at least 10 minutes for the saffron to infuse into liquid... and these amazingly thin "Angels Hair" spaghetti only take 2 minutes to cook!

I soaked my saffron, a good pinch of it, in a cupful of boiling vegetable stock for 10 minutes. Add a couple of slices of ginger and a little crushed garlic and set it to one side whilst you take care of the asparagus...

Trim away the tough ends of the asparagus, rinse and transfer to a frying pan, straight from the tap, so that they are still wet. Turn the heat up high and let them get nice and hot, tossing them about until the water is almost completely evaporated. Add some very finely chopped garlic, some coarsely ground black pepper, salt, a tiny pinch of sugar, a squeeze of lemon and a splash of olive oil. You will find that the water and oil combine with the other seasonings to give the asparagus a wonderful tasty glaze! 

Now for that pasta! Drop it into some boiling salted water and stir- it will become soft very quickly indeed! The package states 2 minutes of cooking time, so I cooked mine for just a minute or so, then drained it and returned it to the saucepan with the saffron infused stock and a good squeeze of lemon. I added a pat of butter and stirred constantly. Soon enough, the angels hair are soft, golden yellow and deliciously coated in delicious saffron and butter, with the added flavor of the stock, to make them into a real treat!

Serve with the asparagus on top and a nice sprinkle of chili flakes or if you have them, some smoked paprika flakes, like I did. You can hardly get either more simple or delicious than that now, can you? So all there is left to say now is buon apetito and enjoy!


  1. I just read today that it was "Spargelzeit" in Germany. I'm with you—I like white asparagus (lovely with Hollandaise Sauce and potatoes) from my days in Vienna—but nothing beats those lovely, thin green asparagus. You're lucky to have access to the wild kind!

  2. Hi Frank! Wish you were here to share ;-) I have already made 3 dishes with that wonderful wild asparagus and still have more left over! Glad you liked it- and I knew you would prefer the green to the white somehow ;-) Saluti da Francesco!