Involtini di Asparagi, Prosciutto e Capelli d'Angeli, con Pomodorini e Timo
Angel Hair-Wrapped Asparagus with Ham, Tomatoes & Thyme
Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince, who begged for a young damsel to let down her golden locks so that he could climb up to the heights of the tower she was imprisoned in...
Well, I can hardly be described as handsome, so what I said to myself this evening was, "Girlfriend, get yourself a haircut and fix me my supper!" And with a handful of super-thin angel hair spaghetti, I wrapped up my supper of asparagus and ham and transformed it into something quite wonderful...
This is, rather unsurprisingly if you are familiar with my recipes, much easier to make as you might imagine at first glimpse... which I am sure you will be pleased to know! It was actually finished and ready to serve, piping hot, in just half an hour... not bad, eh? You couldn't get yourself a pizza delivered in that time!
First things first... the asparagus needs to be peeled and trimmed, then boiled for 5-6 minutes. Take out the asparagus and replace it with the spaghetti... they are so fine they will only take 2 minutes to cook... and in the meantime, rinse the asparagus under the cold tap to cool it off and to prevent it from overcooking.
Add a little saffron to the spaghettini, along with a little butter, nutmeg and olive oil, stir well and then drain and set to one side to cool.
I used the same saucepan and sautéed some halved cherry tomatoes in it, in a little olive oil, with crushed garlic, salt, pepper and sugar, for just 1-2 minutes... and then went about assembling my dish, ready for the oven!
I rolled the asparagus stalks up in ham- my choice was a lean, beef Bresaola, but you could use whichever kind of ham you prefer. Next, I took small amounts of the spaghetti and lifted it up into long, straight lengths... it made me feel as if I was working in a hair salon and I kept wishing for a comb! So, yes, it is a little tricky, but if you just use small amounts it is quite doable... as you can see!
Once wrapped, I placed the wrapped asparagus into my baking dish and then spread the half-cooked cherry tomatoes around the outside decoratively. Everything got one last trickle of olive oil and disappeared into a hot oven for 5 minutes, with an additional 3 minutes under the broiler. This will give you a crispy top to the spaghettini as a nice contrast to the juicy asparagus and the tangy tomatoes... delicious! I sprinkled the tomatoes generously with fresh thyme before serving, as well as a little parmesan (which I forgot at the time that I took the photos!). And there you have it... basically a very simple dish- but elegant and tasty and much less work than scaling the walls of some tower somewhere! And we all live happily ever after!